Terror suspect tried to call police

July 19, 2007 - 0:0

BRISBANE (AP) -- An Indian doctor charged with supporting the failed British terror attacks tried to call a British investigator four times after learning authorities wanted to speak to him, but the calls went unanswered, according to a transcript of his police interrogation leaked Wednesday.

Mohamed Haneef told police he had no prior knowledge of the attacks and made the calls because he wanted to clear his name before he became a suspect, according to the 142-page transcript posted online by The Australian newspaper. The transcript records he made the calls July 2, the same day he was arrested trying to leave Australia for India with a one-way ticket. Haneef's lawyer, Stephen Keim, identified himself as the source of the leak and said he did it in the public interest and to counter what he said was a government-backed campaign to bolster the weak allegations against Haneef. Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said the leak was being investigated as a possible contempt of court. However Keelty, speaking on national radio, did not challenge the authenticity of the transcript. Prime Minister John Howard said whoever was responsible was trying to frustrate justice and ""should be condemned."" Haneef's case has touched off fierce debate in Australia about whether the government is treating him fairly. A magistrate this week granted Haneef bail but within hours, the government revoked Haneef's visa and threatened to take him into immigration custody if he made bail. Civil libertarians say the government's action undermines the courts and deals a blow to democracy. Haneef, 27, was arrested two days after two men drove a flaming Jeep loaded with gas canisters into the international airport in Glasgow, Scotland. Unexploded car bombs were found in London the day before that attack. On Saturday, Haneef was charged with giving support to a terrorist group by leaving his mobile phone SIM card with two distant cousins, one of whom was alleged to have been in a flaming Jeep loaded with gas canisters that rammed into an airport in Glasgow, Scotland. The SIM card was found in the vehicle, police said. Keim said the document published by The Australian was the official transcript of Australian police questioning Haneef on July 3, a day after his arrest. Haneef was asked what knowledge he had of the attempted attacks in London and Glasgow. He replied he had none. ""I'm clear from any of the things,"" Haneef said. ""I haven't done any of the crimes."" Separately, he told his interviewers he gave Sabeel Ahmed his cell phone last year before he left for Australia because it had some unused credit. He also said he borrowed up to $615 from Kafeel Ahmed in 2004 to pay for a medical exam. In the interview, police cited phone records apparently showing Haneef had called the officer's British number four times on July 2, but was unable to get through. It appeared Haneef called the officer's cell phone but it was unclear from the transcript whether he left any messages. Haneef told police he was going to India to be with his wife, who had a baby on June 26 in their hometown of Bangalore. His newborn daughter was still hospitalized with complications following the Caesarean birth when he set out for home, he said. He said his father-in-law paid for the ticket, and he intended to buy a flight back to Australia after he arrived in India.