Gold Coast doctor Mohammed Haneer rushing to see wife and newborn falsely accused of terrorism

Gold Coast doctor Mohammed Haneer rushing to see wife and newborn falsely accused of terrorism 2
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It was the crime that rocked Scotland. 

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A Jeep Cherokee loaded with gas and petrol ploughed into Glasgow Airport killing one of the drivers and injuring five civilians as the building burst into flames.

The suicide bombing on June 30, 2007 was the nation’s first, and only, targeted terrorist attack – leaving many shocked amid the long-standing belief the UK constituent was immune to terrorism. 

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Police arrested the two occupants of the car, Iraqi-born doctor Bilal Abdulla and Kafeel Ahmed.

Ahmed later died in hospital after suffering burns to 90 per cent of his body. 

But it was what happened next on the opposite side of the globe that would spark one of Australia’s most controversial human rights cases and capture the world’s attention. 

Dr Mohamed Haneef (pictured) was falsely accused of terrorism in a human rights case that gripped the world

Dr Mohamed Haneef (pictured) was falsely accused of terrorism in a human rights case that gripped the world 

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Days later, Gold-Coast based doctor and Indian national Dr Mohamed Haneef was arrested for suspected terrorism and detained while travelling to Brisbane to see his wife and newborn daughter. 

Australian Federal Police took the 27-year-old into custody as he touched down at the airport on July 2, while officers raided his unit in Southport and British investigators were flown in to work on the case. 

‘We are alleging that Dr Haneef was connected to a terrorist group,’ AFP commissioner Mick Keelty declared at the time.

Claims began to swirl that Mr Haneef was associated with banned terror groups and was involved in plans to blow up Gold Coast high rises, with one report alleging his previously-owned sim card was linked to the Glasgow attack, the Gold Coast Bulletin reports. 

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Dr Haneef was held without charge for days and treated as a terror suspect, being kept in 23-hour isolation per day. 

While police struggled to find any evidence linking him to the bombing, the court repeatedly granted officers’ requests to keep him in custody to bide themselves time.

‘The extension will allow for the analysis of material obtained in the course of the investigation by joint counter-terrorism teams,’ an AFP spokesman told Reuters at the time.

‘[It] will also allow for inquiries and analysis of material to be conducted in overseas.’

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During his time in custody, Dr Haneef was not allowed to speak to his wife and was subjected to hours-long sessions of police gruelling – despite not being charged. 

Two terrorists drove an explosive-filled car into Glasgow Airport on June 30, 2007, in a crime that shocked the world

Two terrorists drove an explosive-filled car into Glasgow Airport on June 30, 2007, in a crime that shocked the world 

Although police powers at the time only allowed them to question a suspect for 24 hours, officers were able to bypass the rule via a loophole. 

Using court extensions, detectives could keep people in custody so long as they did not exceed 24 hours of questioning in total over the duration of the person’s arrest. 

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Dr Haneef remained locked up for two weeks before his lawyers Peter Russo and QC Stephen Keim were able to stop police extensions to keep him in custody without being questioned. 

‘My poor client is sitting there waiting, wondering what the hell is going on,’ Mr Russo said at the time. 

But the federal government, then led by John Howard, swooped in, with Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews cancelling Dr Haneef’s visa on ‘character grounds’ – which prevented him from being released. 

The move sparked outrage and was dubbed a political move by critics as the government, aiming to look tough on terror, trailed behind Labor Leader Kevin Rudd in the polls. 

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Dr Haneef remained locked up for two weeks before his lawyers Peter Russo (pictured) and QC Stephen Keim were able to stop police from gaining further court extensions

Dr Haneef remained locked up for two weeks before his lawyers Peter Russo (pictured) and QC Stephen Keim were able to stop police from gaining further court extensions 

The Commonwealth’s case against Dr Haneef eventually collapsed and all charges were dropped by the Director of Public Prosecutions, who admitted there was ‘no reasonable prospect of a conviction’. 

Dr Haneef was deported and left Australia at the end of July 2007, and continues to live overseas. 

The following year an inquiry was launched to investigate Dr Haneef’s case, which eventually cleared his name and led to a number of legislative and procedural changes being recommended to the government. 

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Dr Haneef received a cash settlement from the government and briefly returned to Australia in 2010. 

The credibility of John Howard government was tarnished amid the scandal and it  subsequently lost the 2007 election to Labor. 

The Glasgow attack was linked to two non-fatal car bombings in London carried out on June 29, 2007.

The vehicles filled with explosives were discovered parked near night clubs but were discovered before they could be detonated. 

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The bomb plot was connected to Ahmed and Abdulla, who then proceeded with the airport attack after their initial London plans were foiled. 

Abdulla was later found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder in relation to both incidents and sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 32 years. 

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