July 18, 2007 – 5:59AM
Terror suspect Mohamed Haneef has told Australian Federal Police (AFP) he knew nothing about the failed bombings linked to his second cousins in London and Glasgow.
Dr Haneef has been charged with “recklessly” supporting a terrorist organisation, after providing a mobile phone SIM card to a relative later allegedly involved in plotting car bomb attacks in the UK.
Dr Haneef told AFP Agent Adam Simms, he had never had firearms, explosives or terrorist training and denied he had ever been asked “to take part in jihad or anything that could be considered similar to jihad”.
A 142-page transcript of a taped Australian Federal Police interview with Dr Haneef was leaked to The Australian newspaper on Tuesday, News Limited reported.
In the interview, Dr Haneef insists he is a Muslim with moderate views and reveals he feared being “framed” over a mobile phone SIM card he gave to his second cousin.
Dr Haneef, 27, describes jihad as a life struggle rather than a violent revolution.
Australian intelligence authorities are investigating a report in the Indian newspaper The Asian Age that alleged Dr Haneef was a senior organiser for the now-banned group the student Islamic Movement of India, when he was at medical school.
Dr Haneef has denied the allegation, his solicitor says.
Haneef’s lawyer Peter Russo said he asked his client about the claim on Tuesday night.
“His response to it was it’s simply not true, but he didn’t use those words,” Mr Russo told ABC Radio.
In an interview after his arrest at Brisbane Airport on July 2 for allegedly supporting a terrorist organisation, Dr Haneef said:
“I’m clear from any of the things.
“I haven’t done any of the crimes.
“And I don’t want to spoil my name and my profession.
“And I’ve been a professionalist (sic) until now and I haven’t been involved in any kind of extra activities.”
He has admitted to obtaining a loan of STG200-300 ($468-702) in June 2004 from Glasgow bombing suspect Kafeel Ahmed, for a medical qualifying exam.
“When I asked him (when to) pay him back, he said just give it to any of the poor in India,” Dr Haneef said.
Dr Haneef also transferred STG900 ($A2,100) that he said was intended for his family from England to India using Kafeel in October 2005, News Limited reports.
The AFP suspects Haneef may have known about the terrorist attacks in Britain before they were hatched.
Dr Haneef said that his father-in-law had booked and paid for a one-way ticket to India scheduled for July 2 “because I didn’t have any money.”
“I asked him to book a ticket for me now and ah, I (was) going to get a ticket…with my money when I come back.”
A year earlier he had given his mobile phone SIM card, which had unused credit, to his second cousin Sabeel Ahmed.
Dr Haneef said he mentioned to his father-in-law that Ahmed had been arrested over the foiled terrorism attacks in London and Glasgow.
“So (my father-in-law) he said to me ‘Why are you worried about that?’ So I just said ‘keep calm, if we have not done anything, then just nothing to worry’.”
Dr Haneef told the AFP he was told by his father-in-law to call British police and “let them know what’s going on.”
Dr Haneef said that he made repeated telephone calls to police officer, Tony Webster, in Britain to explain the SIM card issue, but the calls were unanswered.
Meanwhile, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has accused Mohamed Haneef’s legal team of leaking the transcript of a police interview with their client.
Mr Ruddock said Haneef’s defence lawyers had “clearly” leaked the material to The Australian.
He said he was concerned about the publication of material before a court, particularly since Haneef was seeking a review of Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews’ decision to cancel his visa.
“There are ethical standards in relation to these matters,” he told reporters.
“Some of the material was clearly put into the public arena by Dr Haneef’s legal advisers.
“It’s obviously an issue which police will have to give further consideration to.”
Haneef’s lawyer, Peter Russo, denied leaking the transcript.
Asked on Sky News who he suspected had leaked the material, Mr Russo said: “I have no idea at this point”.
“I know nothing about it.”
Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Keelty said the leak had undermined the prosecution case and officials were exploring whether an offence, such as contempt of court, had been committed.
Mr Keelty said The Australian’s editor had assured him the leak had not come from police sources.
Mr Keelty said the only people who had access to the transcript were police, prosecution lawyers and Haneef’s lawyers.
Mr Keelty said only one of two interview transcripts had been provided to defence counsel, and that was the same one that was leaked.
“So in other words there is another one that has not been released by the police or the prosecution, and that has not been leaked,” Mr Keelty said.
“Now I’m not saying that the lawyers for Dr Haneef are the persons who have caused the leak but certainly the one that has now been provided by police … is the one that’s been published.
“I think we can narrow down the avenues of inquiry from there.”
Meanwhile, authorities have moved terror suspect Mohamed Haneef out of the Brisbane watchhouse in the city, where he has been held for more than two weeks.
Haneef was transported to Wolston Correctional Centre at Richlands about 9.30am (AEST) today.
Haneef’s defence team will appear in court today to file proceedings against Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews’ decision to continue his detention.
Mr Russo believes the application will be successful.
“We are confident that what we are doing is the right thing and we believe that our application has legs,” he said.
The basis of the application is that the case has not been dealt with in a clear and transparent manner, Mr Russo said.
- The Age