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Haneef’s lawyers welcome resignation of AFP chief Keelty

Brisbane (Australia), May 6 (ANI): Lawyers for Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef have welcomed the resignation of Australia Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty, saying under him the AFP had been an “organisational disaster”.

Keelty will step down on September 2, his 35th anniversary as a police officer and two years before his second term as police chief expires, The Age reports.

The announcement of his early exit follows increasing pressure on him to resign, particularly over the AFP’s bungled handling of the arrest of Dr Haneef in relation to British terrorism attacks.

A report late last year vindicated Dr Haneef, who was arrested, detained and had his Australian work visa cancelled despite no evidence that he was associated with the British attacks.

“Mick Keelty has provided enormous service to Australia and to the AFP,” Prime Minister Rudd told reporters in Sydney this morning   after the news broke.

“I would like to publicly acknowledge the work that he did in response to the Bali bombing where we lost nearly 100 of our own Australians who were murdered in that horrific event,” Rudd said, adding Keelty was leaving of his own accord.

“It is time for him to do something else,” the Prime Minister said.

Keelty, 54, became commissioner in 2001. A career police officer with 35 years experience, he is the first commissioner to have been appointed from within the ranks of the AFP and only the second to have served as commissioner for two terms.

Meanwhile, the Federal Attorney General Robert McClelland has rejected suggestions the investigation into Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef was to blame for the Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Keelty’s resignation today.

Speaking in Sydney, McClelland congratulated Mick Keelty for a “truly outstanding tour of duty” in his 35 years of service at the AFP, and 9 years as the Commissioner.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, McClelland rejected suggestions the Haneef debacle had been to blame for Keelty’s resignation. The matter had involved mistakes from the highest levels of government, but Keelty had not been slow to learn the lessons from the affair, he said. (ANI)

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