Freedom to follow expulsion
Cosima Marriner and Craig Skehan
The Sydney Morning Herald
July 24, 2007
IF THE federal police dropped the terrorism charges against Mohamed Haneef the Federal Government could deport the doctor to India, where he would be a free man.
However, the Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock has played down speculation the Government is manoeuvring to have Haneef deported to avoid further fallout from the bungled police handling of the case. Mr Ruddock said yesterday that circumstances which led to police charging Haneef with providing support to a terrorist organisation “haven't changed”.
After the Minister for Immigration, Kevin Andrews, cancelled Haneef's visa last week on the basis that he was not of good character, Mr Ruddock issued a Criminal Justice Certificate, a type of visa that enables Haneef to remain in Australia until the charges against him are heard.
“It is appropriate given police were pursuing charges that he should remain in the jurisdiction. I have not received any advice that this view has changed,” Mr Ruddock said.
Should police drop the charges, Brisbane Magistrates Court would need to be told the case was not going ahead. Mr Ruddock would cancel the Criminal Justice Certificate, in effect making Haneef an “unlawful non-citizen” as his visa has been revoked.
The Government would then deport him to India, where he is a citizen. Haneef's lawyer, Peter Russo, has said his client would voluntarily return to India if the charges were dropped, “though that's not our preferred choice”. Once in India Haneef would be a free man.