Friday, July 20, 2007

Bad to worse

The Mohammed Haneef case has gone from bad to worse in the last few days. After two weeks detention without trial, a bullshit charge, and an authoriatarian attack on the rule of law when Haneef succeeded in winning bail, Australian government officials began selectively leaking evidence to blacken his name and assist their efforts to whip up fear prior to the election. This was countered when Haneef's lawyer went public with the full transcript of his client's police interviews, allowing the public to see the full picture. The Australian government practically screamed treason, and you can see why: because comparing the transcript to the affidavit lodged by the police in opposition to Haneef being granted bail shows that they lied to the court:

The police affidavit states: "On 2 July and 3 July 2007 Dr Haneef participated in a taped record of interview with the AFP and stated the following: Whilst in the UK he resided with suspects 1 and 2 (alleged suicide bomber Kafeel Ahmed and his brother Dr Sabeel Ahmed), at 13 Bentley Road, Liverpool."

However, in the record of interview, obtained by The Australian on Tuesday, Dr Haneef tells police that he lived at 13 Bentley Road, Liverpool, with several doctors, whom he names. None are the two suspects. Dr Haneef tells police he visited Cambridge on two occasions in 2004 and stayed for up to six days with Kafeel Ahmed.

Dr Haneef also states that he had moved out of 13 Bentley Road when Dr Sabeel Ahmed subsequently stayed there.

"I don't know exactly how long did he live there for, because I wasn't staying there then," Dr Haneef says.


The police affidavit asserts that Dr Haneef, 27, a Gold Coast Hospital registrar since September last year, "had no explanation as to why he did not have a return ticket" from India to Australia. Dr Haneef, whose wife, Firdous Arshiya, gave birth to their first child by emergency caesarean section on June 26 in Bangalore, India, was trying to leave Australia on July 2 on a one-way ticket bought the same day by his father-in-law in India.

While the police affidavit stated Dr Haneef "had no explanation" about his one-way ticket, the record of interview shows that he gave a detailed explanation to police while answering questions. Dr Haneef told police that as he did not have funds in his Australian bank account his father-in-law had booked and paid for the one-way ticket with an understanding that "when I go there we can arrange for the coming back ticket. Because I just got 7 days' leave approved".

There's a name for this: perjury. In most countries, it's a crime, and in Australia carries a penalty of 14 years imprisonment - or life if done for the purposes of securing a conviction. I would hope that the AFP officer(s) who put their name to that affidavit are prosecuted to the full extent of the law; unfortunately, as that law is enforced by their mates, I doubt it.

Correction: Graeme has pointed out in email that in Australia "perjury only carries a life sentence if the perjury was committed for the purpose of securing a conviction for an offence which itself carries a life sentence". I should really read these things more carefully.