Australia says secret material on Indian doctor can't be released

August 1, 2007 - 0:0

SYDNEY (AFP) -- Secret material used to cancel the visa of an Indian doctor falsely accused of terrorism cannot be released as it may jeopardize investigations, Australia's immigration minister said Tuesday.

Kevin Andrews said he wanted to release the ""protected material"" to demonstrate why he cancelled Mohamed Haneef's working visa but the Australian Federal Police had advised him against it.
""Ideally I would like to release information, but I'm being told by the Federal Police, please don't jeopardize the ongoing inquiry,"" Andrews told Sydney commercial radio.
""The commissioner of the Federal Police, Mr. (Mick) Keelty, has said to me that this protected material, if released, could jeopardize that investigation.
""I think I have a responsibility not to jeopardize an investigation in this matter.""
Andrews had faced heavy criticism in Australia over his decision to exercise a little-used discretionary power to cancel Haneef's visa then refuse to reinstate it when the terrorism case against the doctor collapsed last week.
""I'm in a position where I've got one hand tied behind my back,"" he said, citing ongoing investigations in Australia and Britain following failed car bombings last month in central London and Glasgow.
Haneef was charged with recklessly supporting a terrorist organization but returned home at the weekend after more than three weeks in custody when the case against him collapsed due to lack of evidence and bungles by prosecutors.
The 27-year-old medic has demanded Australia apologize to India over the affair and vowed to fight to have his visa returned so he can return to Australia, where he worked at a hospital on Queensland state's Gold Coast tourist strip.
Prime Minister John Howard this week ruled out an apology and Andrews dismissed calls for a judicial review of the case, which was the first time tough counter-terrorism laws introduced after 9/11 had been put to the test.
""This process has been overseen by the judiciary at every step,"" he said