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23-hr/day solitary confinement for Haneef
Natasha Chaku in Melbourne
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July 18, 2007 15:41 IST

Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef will be treated as a terrorist while he is detained in a Queensland jail and subject to special conditions, including solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, an official said on Wednesday.

Haneef was transferred from police custody to Wolston Correctional Centre in Brisbane's southwest after failing to meet bail conditions set by the Brisbane magistrate's court on Monday.

The 27-year-old Gold Coast Hospital registrar is charged with supporting a terrorist organisation after giving a mobile phone SIM card to a relative later accused of being involved in plotting car bomb attacks in the UK.

Queensland Police and Corrective Services Minister Judy Spence said the conditions of his detention included no contact with other inmates, meaning Haneef would be alone in a cell for all but one hour a day, when he is allowed to exercise.

Haneef would also face a different regime to that of other prisoners, she said.

"A terrorist prisoner is required to be held apart from the mainstream prison population, so he will be held in a segregated environment, when he moves around the prison he will be accompanied by two prison officers," she said.

"Anyone who is charged under terrorist legislation is obviously seen as a greater threat to the good order of our society than other type of prisoners," she said.

Spence defended the high security around Haneef's transfer in an armoured police van today. "You have to appreciate he is being treated as a terrorist, that's the charges against him at this point in time, so it is appropriate that when he is moved from one place to another that he is heavily guarded".

"Don't be so surprised about the heavy security surrounding this particular person, because it is a normal way of moving high profile and high security prisoners around the state," Spence said.

In prison, Haneef will be managed as a terror prisoner under the Anti-Terrorism Act, and subject to conditions agreed on by the states.

Spence said a management plan would detail Haneef's daily activities.

He would have access to his lawyer, Peter Russo, the prison visitors' scheme, and its chief inspector, should he wish to complain about his conditions.

He would also have access to television, literature and radio, but not to a computer. Haneef will also be allowed visits from an imam or Islamic leader, and access to prayer mats and halal meals (a meal cooked in the traditional Muslim custom).

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