EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

Skirmishes In The Visa Wars

  • July 24th, 2007
  • Posted by 7thmin

haneef1.jpgDifferent angles on the battle over illegal immigration and crime:

Belgian authorities say they have dented the trade in stowaways trying to get to the United Kingdom through their ports.

They told Flemishnews that 763 immigrants without visas had been caught mostly hiding in trucks, during the first six months of the year – up 12% on the same period in 2006.

Most were at the port of Zeebrugge and others at Ostend, which has seen some elaborate stiffening of frontier security checks.

British authorities reported finding 25 who got through; 14 people have been arrested for human trafficking in recent months.

Meanwhile, as controversy rages in Australia over the treatment of a doctor from India, Mohammed Haneef, (picture),the so-called “doctor plot” has taken a break from major media attention in Europe, as three accused men await trial.

Other matters, especially the weather, have pushed the case out of the European headlines.

The doctor in Australia has been accused of maintaining a “reckless” connection with a terrorist group — and his case has become also a contest over immigration laws.

He gave an unexpired telephone SIM card to one of the group linked to the failed bomb attacks in London and Glasgow last month, and though put on bail, is held in detention following withdrawal of his temporary visa.
Critics have objected both to errors in handling evidence in the defendant’s court case, and to implementation of the practice in Australia of detaining non-citizens without visas.

Mohammed Haneef has been held since 2.7.07.