Indian doctor wins compensation over bungled terror charge
An Indian doctor wrongly detained on terror charges by Australian police three years ago Tuesday raised the prospect of moving back to the country, after winning compensation from the government.
Mohamed Haneef accepted what his lawyer described as a "substantial" but confidential settlement for his 2007 ordeal in which authorities incorrectly linked him to failed car bombings at airports in London and Glasgow.
"I'm very pleased and happy with the resolution of this matter," Haneef told reporters after emerging from two days of talks.
"My wrongful arrest and detention in 2007 was a very traumatic experience and today's settlement is a chance to end that part of my life and move on with my family."
Haneef, who was arrested by police in July 2007 at a Queensland airport as he waited to fly to India on a one-way ticket, said he would consider returning to live in Australia one day.
"My family and I are enjoying our visit in Australia, especially seeing our dear friends here, and we look forward to possibly returning to Australia one day," he said.
The medic, who was held for 25 days and not charged for the first 12, had been working as a doctor at Queensland's Gold Coast Hospital at the time of the failed bombings on airports in the United Kingdom.
He was detained and eventually charged with recklessly giving support to a terrorist organisation after his mobile phone SIM card was linked to failed attacks on airports in the UK.
He was later found to be innocent and the victim of bungling by prosecutors but by then the government had cancelled his work visa and he had returned to India.
Haneef launched his compensation claim earlier this year, seeking damages for lost earnings, emotional stress, the interruption to his medical career and damage to his reputation.
"Part of the agreement is that the parties not discuss the details of the settlement," his lawyer Rod Hodgson said. "Although I can say that Dr Haneef will receive a substantial compensation."
Haneef, who now works as a doctor in the United Arab Emirates, said had said ahead of the mediation talks that he still liked Australia.
"I like the place, I like working over there in the Gold Coast," he said Friday.
© 2010 AFP