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Last Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007, 20:11 GMT 21:11 UK
Haneef terrorism charges dropped
Mohammed Haneef (file photo)
Mohamed Haneef had been working as a doctor on the Gold Coast
An Indian doctor has been freed from custody in Australia after charges linked to the failed bomb attacks in the UK were dropped.

Dr Mohamed Haneef was released into home detention while he awaits a decision on his immigration status.

The 27-year-old had his visa revoked after he was charged with giving "reckless support" to terrorism.

The charge was withdrawn on Friday after Australia's chief prosecutor admitted "a mistake has been made".

The case - which also threw new anti-terror laws under the spotlight - triggered concern from both legal and civil rights groups.

'Keystone Cops'

Mohamed Haneef's wife and other members of his family in India expressed their delight at his release.

"We are just waiting for a bridging visa for my husband because I don't want him to get deported. I want him to come back normally, as a regular," Firdous Arshiya said.

Mohamed Haneef's wife Firdous Arshiya - 27/07/07
Firdous Arshiya said she was "extremely happy" at her husband's release

The case was withdrawn during a hearing at Brisbane court on Friday at the request of Director of Public Prosecutions Damian Bugg.

He later told a news conference that a review of the case found that there was no reasonable prospect of convicting Dr Haneef on the evidence available.

"In the circumstances of this case I do not believe that evidence to prove the case to the requisite standard will be obtained," he said. "On my view of the matter a mistake has been made."

The case against Dr Haneef came under question after prosecution evidence presented in a previous hearing was disputed.

Prosecutors had claimed that the doctor's SIM card had been found in the burning car that crashed into Glasgow international airport on 30 June.

The [Australian police] will continue to work with its UK colleagues to fully explore the evidence and establish the facts
Mick Keelty
Head of Australian Federal Police

But it later emerged the card had actually been found in a flat in Liverpool, some 300km (185 miles) from Glasgow, where his cousin lived.

The decision to drop the charges was accepted by the head of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Mick Keelty, who attended the news conference with Mr Bugg.

He defended police handling of the case, which had been likened to the "Keystone Cops" by Queensland premier Peter Beattie earlier in the week.

"This remains an ongoing investigation," Mr Keelty said. "It is a complex and painstaking process and the AFP will continue to work with its UK colleagues to fully explore the evidence and establish the facts."

Visa move

Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said that Dr Haneef would be granted home detention while he awaits a final decision on his immigration status.

Protesters supporting Dr Haneef outside the Brisbane court on 16 July 2007
The case had led to protests in Australia

"He is free to move about in the community, but as a matter of legal principle... he is formally in detention," he said.

Mr Andrews had caused controversy earlier this month after revoking Dr Haneef's visa on character grounds, based on the charges against him.

Dr Haneef had been working at the Gold Coast Hospital in Queensland when he was detained trying to board a flight to India on 2 July.

It came days after two cars containing petrol, gas cylinders and nails were discovered in London, and a burning car was driven into Glasgow airport.

Three people have been charged over the failed bombings in the UK, including Dr Haneef's second cousin Sabeel Ahmed.

Why the Australian police investigation was criticised

Australia's Indian doctors feel the heat
24 Jul 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Prosecutor to review Haneef case
25 Jul 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Australia terror laws under scrutiny
19 Jul 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Haneef lawyers appeal detention
18 Jul 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Haneef 'will remain behind bars'
16 Jul 07 |  Asia-Pacific
India concern over Haneef custody
17 Jul 07 |  South Asia
Indian doctor in UK plot charge
14 Jul 07 |  Asia-Pacific

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