Lawyer: \'Howard wanted Haneef to be Tampa #2\'

Issue 

One of the lawyers for Mohamed Haneef, the doctor charged with terrorism-related offences in 2007, told a 100-strong June 21 public meeting that the Howard government had "wanted Dr Haneef to be a terrorist — but he wasn't". The Australian Federal Police (AFP) case against Haneef spectacularly imploded.

One of the lawyers for Mohamed Haneef, the doctor charged with terrorism-related offences in 2007, told a 100-strong June 21 public meeting that the Howard government had "wanted Dr Haneef to be a terrorist — but he wasn't". The Australian Federal Police (AFP) case against Haneef spectacularly imploded.

"They all wanted 'Tampa number two' to get themselves reelected", Peter Russo said. "But it backfired badly."

Russo said that the federal government-initiated Clarke inquiry into the Haneef case had narrow terms of reference and lacked coercive power to cross-examine people of interest, such as AFP head Mick Keelty and former police minister Kevin Andrews.

On July 1, another of Haneef's lawyers, Rod Hodgson, told the ABC that there was evidence to show that Australian authorities had preconceived views about Haneef allegedly supporting terrorist activities in Britain. Documents from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, accessed after a recent Administrative Appeals Tribunal challenge, reveal that the government never considered that Haneef could be innocent.

The meeting, organised by Sydney's Stop the War Coalition, also heard from an uncle of one of the "Goulburn 9\": men imprisoned for nearly three years on terror-related charges. Frank said that his nephew had been arrested on very flimsy evidence.

Activists Marlene Obeid, Shannon Price and Louise Thatcher also addressed the meeting.

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