British in Brisbane to question arrested doctor

A British investigator prepared today to question an Indian doctor arrested in Australia over the failed bombings in London and Glasgow.

A British investigator prepared today to question an Indian doctor arrested in Australia over the failed bombings in London and Glasgow.

Australian authorities reviewing evidence they seized said they were not ready to file charges.

Australian police acting on information forwarded from British counterparts arrested Muhammad Haneef, 27, on Monday in the eastern city of Brisbane as he tried to board a flight with a one-way ticket, believed to be to India via Malaysia.

Haneef is being held under counterterrorism laws that allow police to detain a suspect without charge as long as a judge agrees there are grounds to do so.

Police have until late today to charge him, release him or seek a detention extension.

A counterterrorism expert from the team investigating the failed bombings on Friday and Saturday in London and Glasgow arrived today in Brisbane, where Haneef is being held, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said.

British authorities had requested that her identity not be released to the media.

Keelty has said Haneef is being held on suspicion of having links to a terrorist group, but has cautioned that authorities have not established that he played a role in the bombing plot.

Speaking in Canberra after giving testimony to a parliamentary committee on crime, Keelty said Australian police were still examining potential evidence seized with search warrants during Haneef’s arrest on Monday.

“There’s quite a large amount of material that’s being worked through,” Keelty said. “The investigators are still working through that material so there’s been no other developments.”

Asked if charges might be laid within the next few days, Keelty said: “It’s too early to say yet.”

Haneef worked in 2005 at Halton Hospital in Runcorn where another suspect arrested in connection with the failed attacks also worked. He moved to Australia in September last year.

Keelty has mentioned mobile phone records are among evidence police are examining, but has declined to give further details. He said yesterday that Britain had not sought to extradite Haneef.

Haneef is one of eight people – all medically trained – detained over the plot in which two car bombs failed to explode in London on June 29, and two men rammed a Jeep loaded with gas cylinders into the entrance of Glasgow International Airport on Saturday.

Haneef came to Australia after successfully applying for a job at the Gold Coast Hospital, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Brisbane, advertised in the British Medical Journal.

Haneef had worked in 2005 at Halton Hospital, hospital spokesman Mark Shone said.

Another Indian doctor arrested on Saturday in Liverpool worked at the same hospital, Shone said, but refused to divulge his name.

Haneef’s family in Bangalore, India, said he was no terrorist.

“He is innocent and I am confident that he will be back with honour,” Haneef’s sister, Sumaiya, said. She said Haneef had been trying to return to India to see his daughter, born on June 26.

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