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Indian doctor's police detention extended
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July 04, 2007 08:55 IST
Last Updated: July 04, 2007 09:08 IST

Australian police have been granted an extra two days time to interrogate the Indian doctor arrested in connection with last week's failed terror attack in the UK, Prime Minister John Howard said on Tuesday.

Howard told the Seven Network that a magistrate had extended by 48 hours the time for police to interrogate Mohammed Haneef, the Indian medico arrested at Brisbane international airport on Monday.

Howard said Britain is sending a top police officer to Australia to question 27-year-old Haneef.

"I can also inform you that a chief inspector from the British Metropolitan police is on her way to Australia to assist with the interrogations and to assist with the inquiries," Howard said.

Howard said it was important to remember that Haneef had not been charged. "I must stress that the man has been detained, he has been taken into custody, he has not been charged with any offence," Howard said.

Meanwhile Channel 4 in Britain reported that UK police want to bring Haneef back to London [Images] as soon as possible so that he could be grilled by terrorism experts.

"Channel 4 News understands he'll soon be brought back to Britain to face questioning from the counter-terrorism squad," Channel 4 reported, citing unnamed security sources. However Australia's Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said he had not received an extradition request from British police. "Not yet," Keelty told local radio channel.

Asked when he expected Haneef to either be released or charged and possibly extradited, Keelty said, "By the end of the week is the timeframe I think we would give."

The revelation came amid speculation that Haneef may have been known to Britain's top spy agency MI5 before his arrest at Brisbane Airport on Monday.

Haneef was arrested by Australian police after a tip-off from their British counterparts about his possible connection to bomb attacks in London and Glasgow.

The person "taken into custody is an Indian national who came to Australia sponsored by the Queensland health department under a 457 visa," Howard told reporters on Monday without giving details about him.

Channel 4 reported that Haneef, Registrar at Gold Coast Hospital, was arrested as he was about to board a flight to India via Malaysia on a one-way ticket.

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