Wife of Alleged UK Terrorist in Australia Says Husband is Innocent

The wife of an Indian doctor charged in connection with the foiled terror plots in Britain maintained her husband was innocent and pleaded with authorities to help free him, local media reported Sunday.

Muhammad Haneef, 27, was charged Saturday in Brisbane, Australia, with supporting a terrorist group by giving his mobile phone SIM card to his cousins, both of whom are also suspects in the London and Glasgow plots.

"I appeal to the prime minister and the defense minister to please, please help me out in this situation," Firdaus Arshiya told the Hindustan Times. "Everyone knows that he is innocent."

Australian police charged Haneef with providing support to the bomb plot by giving the SIM card to his cousins, Sabeel and Kafeel Ahmed, when he left Britain for Australia in September 2006.

"I had patience till now because I thought they would not charge him without reason," Arshiya said. "The charges are baseless and senseless."

Sabeel was charged Saturday with withholding information that could prevent an act of terrorism while Kafeel, who is believed to have set himself ablaze after crashing a Jeep into the Glasgow airport, is in a Scottish hospital with critical burns.

Arshiya said her husband and Sabeel Ahmed were close and stayed in contact even while the couple was living in Australia.

"Sabeel called us regularly in Australia," the Times of India quoted her as saying. "They used to speak about the medical and working environment in Australia. They did not speak about religion or any other issue."

Haneef faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted. He was arrested July 2 while trying to leave Brisbane on a one-way ticket to India, where he said he was going to see his newborn baby. Arshiya left Australia for India in March.

Prosecutor Clive Porritt said Haneef would have known about the Ahmed brothers' alleged links to terrorism.

Defense lawyer Stephen Keim said Haneef only left the SIM card with Sabeel Ahmed so his cousin could take advantage of a special deal on his mobile phone plan.

"They are being plain stupid," Arshiya said, referring to the Australian authorities, according to the Times of India. "They can't do this injustice."

In addition to Haneef and Sabeel Ahmed, Bilal Abdullah, a 27-year-old doctor, was charged last week by British police with conspiring to set off explosions.

Two cars packed with gas cylinders and nails were discovered on June 29 in central London. The next day, the flaming Jeep Cherokee, loaded with gas canisters and gasoline, smashed into security barriers at the main terminal at Glasgow airport.