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Haneef granted bail by Australian court

Last updated on: July 16, 2007 09:35 IST

Indian doctor Mohammed Haneef, charged in connection with last month's failed car bomb attacks in Britain, was on Monday granted bail by an Australian court hearing into the charges.

Following a day-long hearing on Sunday, the Brisbane magistrate Jacqui Payne on Monday ruled Mohamed Haneef should be released into the community pending his trial for 'recklessly' supporting a terrorism organisation.

The 27-year-old, hailing from Bangalore, must provide a surety of 10,000 Australian dollars and report to the Southport police station three times a week. Haneef will continue to be in custody till all the bail conditions are met, which may take another day.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions had not alleged that Haneef was directly involved with a terror group behind last month's failed extremist attacks in London and Glasgow, Payne said.

She said that a mobile phone SIM card belonging to him and found in the possession of the UK terror suspects had been left with family members in Britain before he came to Australia last year and had not been used in the failed attacks.

She also took into account that he was a doctor who was working and studying in Australia.

Under the terms of his bail, Haneef must report three times a week to Southport police -- on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 6 am and 10 pm -- and must notify the Commonwealth DPP of his residential address.

His passport has already been seized and is barred from applying a fresh one.

While the magistrate handed down the decision and set August 31 as a date for a committal hearing, Haneef sat quietly with his hands in his lap.

According to latest television reports, it was not yet known how Haneef was emotionally feeling following news of his release but his lawyer mentioned it seemed Haneef was glad about the decision as 'law will now take its natural course.'

While Haneef's lawyer Russo was not confident whether the decision was in favour of Haneef or not, his defence barrister Stephen Keim was reportedly more confident on a positive decision, according to skynews channel.

Haneef was taken into custody on July 2 when he attempted to leave Australia on a one-way ticket. The other suspects in the case relating to a failed terror attack on UK's Glasgow airport on June 30 includes his cousins, Sabeel Ahmed and Kafeel Ahmed.

Commonwealth prosecutor Clive Porritt had argued for the Indian national to remain behind bars, citing federal government legislation which states those charged with terrorism offences can only be granted bail in 'exceptional circumstances.'

However, Haneef's Barrister Stephen Keim had argued for his release labelling the case against Haneef was 'extremely weak,' according to local media channel.     

It is unclear where Haneef will live while his case proceeds. During their probe, the police allegedly trashed his Southport flat in their search for evidence. His defence lawyer Peter Russo said that alternative accommodation was being sought.

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