Indian doctor Mohammed Haneef, wrongly accused of terror links in Australia, is returning to the country next month for compensation talks, local media said on Monday.
Haneef, along with his wife Firdous and three-year-old daughter Haniyah, will arrive in Brisbane in December for the mediation session as one of the final steps in his bid to secure a compensation payout for his ordeal, The Australian reported. Haneef has also expressed a desire to return to Australia "permanently", according to the report.
In July 2007, Haneef was held in custody for 12 days before being charged with recklessly giving support to a terrorist organisation when his mobile phone SIM card was linked to a terrorist attack in Britain the same year. Haneef was arrested at Brisbane airport, as he was returning to India on family leave to see his wife, who had just given birth. He was working at the Gold Coast Hospital at the time. "I'm very grateful for the support the Australian people gave me," he told the newspaper from Dubai, where he is currently employed as general practitioner.
"I was really amazed when I saw people coming up and speaking on behalf of me."Next month's trip was in part a way of gauging whether or not it would be possible to again live and work in Australia, he said.
"This would be a time to see how the community accepts us there," Haneef said, adding, "After all the things that happened anybody would have this kind of nervousness and anxiety when they come back, where you have been incarcerated for so long."
The two-day compensation talks, scheduled for December 20-21, will be chaired by former judge Tony Fitzgerald, whose 1987 judicial inquiry exposed widespread judicial and police corruption in Queensland. Earlier, an independent inquiry by John Clarke had cleared Haneef of any involvement in, or foreknowledge of, the 2007 attacks and accuse the Australian Federal Police (AFP) of making serious errors in its investigation.