THE government has quietly issued a formal apology to the wrongly detained Mohammed Haneef, saying it hopes he can now move on with his life.
Dr Haneef this week received a substantial compensation payout from the federal government following his detention on terrorism-related charges in 2007.
Part of the settlement was that the government would formally apologise, which it has done today by releasing a statement on the website of the Attorney-General’s Department.
“The AFP (Australian Federal Police) acknowledges that it was mistaken and that Dr Haneef was innocent of the offence of which he was suspected,” the apology reads.
“The commonwealth apologises and hopes that the compensation to be paid to Dr Haneef will mark the end of an unfortunate chapter and allow Dr Haneef to move forward with his life and career.”
Earlier, yesterday a report said that Mohamed Haneef has reportedly been awarded about $1 million in compensation.
Kevin Andrews, the immigration minister at the time, said last night he had been advised defamation action against him had been dropped.
He added that he had made no apology, nor had any compensation been paid in relation to the action.
Dr Haneef’s lawyer Rod Hodgson said the apology reaffirmed his client’s innocence and follows the resolution of the doctor’s compensation claim earlier this week.
“We congratulate the government for recognising an injustice done on the watch of the previous government and for this public apology and declaration of innocence,” he said. “The apology means a lot to our client.”
A spokeswoman for Mr Hodgson’s firm Maurice Blackburn said the apology was posted last night and a full letter of apology had been sent to Dr Haneef.
Attorney-General Robert McClelland said after the settlement this week that it covered two matters, including Dr Haneef’s civil claim against the commonwealth and defamation action against Howard government immigration minister Kevin Andrews.
The amount of compensation was subject to a confidentiality agreement along with the rest of the terms of the settlement.
“It’s been a very difficult time for Dr Haneef and his family and I hope today’s settlement goes some way to providing closure to this period of their lives,” he said