Haneef to get ’substantial’ compensation from Australia

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

SYDNEY - Indian-origin doctor Mohamed Haneef, wrongly accused of being involved in terrorism, will receive a “substantial” and confidential payout from the Australian government, a media report said Tuesday.

Haneef returned to Australia last week to seek compensation, after he was wrongfully held in prison in July 2007.

The compensation claim, described by his lawyers as “unique in Australian legal history”, sought damages for lost earnings, the interruption to his medical career, damage to his reputation and emotional stress, AAP news agency reported.

Haneef was taken into custody and charged with giving support to a terrorist organisation when his mobile phone SIM card was linked to an attack in Britain in 2007.

The charges were later dropped as prosecutors admitted bungling the case, and an independent inquiry cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Haneef and his lawyers completed two days of talks in Brisbane with Australian government officials Tuesday.

“Part of the agreement is that the parties not discuss the details of the settlement,” Haneef’s lawyer Rod Hodgson said as he left the meeting with the India-born doctor.

“Although I can say that Dr. Haneef will receive a substantial compensation.”

Haneef said he was looking forward to putting the past behind him now, and possibly returning to his old workplace, the Gold Coast Hospital, along with his wife and three-year-old daughter.

“I’m very pleased and happy with the resolution of this matter,” he said.

“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.”

He said the outcome would help him re-establish his career and reputation.

“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 thanked his friends and supporters in Australia and India who had been a “great source of strength” throughout the ordeal.

Filed under: Terrorism

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