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Australia PM refuses to apologize over handling of Haneef terror case

[JURIST] Australian Prime Minister John Howard [official profile] refused to apologize for the Australian government's handling of Dr. Mohammad Haneef [JURIST news archive] Monday, saying that it had not "victimized" Haneef despite holding him as a terrorist suspect for 25 days. Haneef was detained while trying to leave the country for allegedly providing reckless material support [JURIST report] to suspected terrorists in the attempted UK car bomb attacks [JURIST report] in June. Haneef, who has not been implicated by UK authorities in the attacks, was released from "immigration detention" [JURIST report] last Friday after prosecutors dropped the terror charge [JURIST report] against Haneef. Also Monday, Immigration and Citizenship Minister Kevin Andrews [official website] indicated that he is seeking legal clearance to release secret information [Herald Sun report] provided to him by the Australian Federal Police [official website], which Andrews says influenced his much-criticized decision to revoke Haneef's work visa following a judge's decision to grant Haneef bail.

On Friday, Howard appeared to deflect criticism toward the Australian Federal Police and prosecutors [BBC report], saying that detention was conducted by the Australian Federal Police and that the case was prepared by the Director of Public Prosecutions Damian Bugg [official profile]. He also indicated that "the right thing now is for those two men to explain the process and explain the reasons." On Sunday, Andrews again defended his revocation of Haneef's work visa [transcript], saying that Haneef's attempt to leave Australia was "highly suspicious" and accused Haneef of using the "pretext that he has to rush home in India to visit his newborn despite the fact that that child had been born for a month at that stage" after learning of the attempted UK bombings. During an interview with Sunrise [media website], Andrews appeared to misstate facts about Haneef's case; the newborn was only a week-old when Haneef was detained. Haneef, who has since traveled to Bangalore, India to rejoin his wife and newborn child after the Australian government lifted Haneef's travel ban [JURIST report], is currently appealing the revocation of his work visa at the Federal Court of Australia [official website]. Haneef's next hearing is scheduled for August 8. BBC News has more. AP has additional coverage.

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