Scotland Yard sends terror detective to Australia
( Telegraph ) - A Scotland Yard detective is en route to Australia to question an Indian doctor arrested in connection with the failed car bomb attacks in Britain, as the man's family said he was innocent.
An Australian magistrate gave police an extra 48 hours in which to question Dr Mohamed Haneef, who was arrested at Brisbane international airport on Monday on a tip-off from British police.
He was attempting to board a plane bound for India on a one-way ticket. A chief inspector from the Metropolitan Police is expected to arrive in Australia tomorrow to help question Dr Haneef about his alleged links to the seven people arrested over the thwarted car bombings in London and Glasgow last week.
The detective, a counter-terrorism expert working for the team investigating the conspiracy, would "assist with the interrogations", the prime minister, John Howard, said.
Dr Haneef, a Muslim, is alleged to have had recent mobile phone conversations with one or more of the suspects arrested in the UK. It is believed he allowed one of the arrested men to use his mobile phone SIM card and internet account after he left Britain for Australia late last year.
Australia's most senior police officer, Mick Keelty, said authorities would decide within days whether to charge, release or extradite 27-year-old Dr Haneef to Britain. British authorities have not yet lodged an extradition request.
"We are hopeful that we'll be able to clarify his situation in the course of the next 48 hours or so," Commissioner Keelty said. "There is a considerable amount of material that's been provided to us that we are working on."
A second foreign doctor questioned by police, Mohammed Asif Ali, has been released without charge and police said he would face no further questioning.
Dr Haneef had been working at Queensland's Gold Coast Hospital since September after being recruited from the UK through an advertisement in the British Medical Journal. In 2005 he worked at Halton Hospital near Liverpool, along with another Indian doctor, 26, who was among those arrested at the weekend.
Dr Haneef's landlord said his tenant was a quiet man who paid his rent on time and lived with a woman believed to be his wife until a few months ago, when she had returned to India to give birth.
Steve Bosher said it appeared Dr Haneef had left in a rush, leaving washing on the clothes line, unwashed dishes in the sink and bread out in the kitchen of his spartan flat.
"It didn't really look like an apartment that someone was (leaving to go) overseas for a while," he said. Dr Haneef's family insisted he was heading to India to see his newborn daughter and was innocent of any terrorism links.
"He has been detained unnecessarily. He is innocent," his mother, Qurat-ul-ain, said in Bangalore.
His sister, Sumaiya, said: "He is a responsible citizen of the country and the Indian government should help us get him back. His aim has been to be a good doctor."