Parvathi Menon

BANGALORE: Even as Mohammed Haneef headed home, the debate over the circumstances of his departure following his detention in Australia continued.

“Very similar to deportation,” was how Stephen Keim, Dr. Mohammed Haneef’s barrister, described the decision by the Australian authorities to send him back after revoking his visa. Speaking to The Hindu on the phone, he said deportation usually follows after charges against the person are proved, something that did not apply to him.

Mr. Keim, who recently leaked the transcript of his client’s interrogation by the Australian Federal Police in the public interest, said Minister for Immigration Kevin Andrews revoked the visa on the grounds that Dr. Haneef’s “character is such that he is not entitled to live or work in Australia.” Dr. Haneef was homesick, he said, and had got permission for “voluntary departure.”

Mr. Keim said Dr. Haneef does not have to be present for the August 8 hearing before the Federal Court where his lawyers will challenge the decision to cancel his work visa. The outcome of the August 8 trial could be important for the future.

Dr. Haneef’s release comes as a victory for the rights groups that have been campaigning against the misuse of the terror laws in Australia.

“We are petitioning the government to urgently review the character provisions of the Migration Act to ensure no other Australian resident is ever subjected to the inhumane treatment that Dr. Haneef had to endure,” Ramdas Sankaran, preside

“It is the Keystone politicians, government and opposition that we are concerned about, and not the Keystone Cops. They have incalculably damaged the social fabric of our society, and instead of terror-proofing it they have exacerbated the fear and anxiety of all Australians.”

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