Australian police charge Indian doctor over failed UK bombings

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Indian doctor Mohammed Haneef has been formally charged in Brisbane by the Australian Federal Police after being held without charge for the past 12 days in connection with the failed Glasgow Airport and London car bombings.

Dr Haneef, a distant cousin of Kafeel and Sabeel Ahmed who are accused of plotting the attacks provided Sabeel with a SIM card. It is alleged that UK police found the card in the possession of Mr Ahmed when he was arrested and informed Australian authorities.

During a bail hearing, the AFP claimed that Haneef had given his SIM card to the Ahmed brothers when he left the UK in July, 2006. It is alleged that he also shared a house in Liverpool with his cousins for up to 2 two years before moving to Australia. Police opposed bail for Dr Haneef, however the magistrate has reserved her decision until Monday due to the large amount of paperwork involved in the case. Dr Haneef remains in custody.

Speaking at a news conference in Canberra, AFP Chief Mick Keelty told reporters that Haneef had been reckless in giving his cousins a SIM Card. He further claimed that the "allegation involves recklessness rather than intention".

Dr Haneef was arrested on July 2 at Brisbane International Airport where it is alleged that he was trying to leave Australia for India on a one-way ticket. He claims that he was going to visit his wife and newborn daughter although police have openly stated they do not accept Haneef's explanation. Up until his arrest, Dr Haneef had been working at the Gold Coast Hospital.

Under Australian counter-terrorism laws, Dr Haneef faces a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment if convicted.