"If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." - Cardinal Richelieu
Mohamed Haneef continues to be guilty by association in the minds of Howard government ministers, with Downer the latest to misunderstand the presumption of innocence when it suits his political purposes.
The Age reports him saying "Every time there is somebody arrested and facing charges, there's some sort of controversy about 'oh the poor thing, he must be innocent, this is all being cooked up for some particular reason'."
Unfortunately, on past form, it would be fair enough believe that it is indeed being cooked up - for political reasons that suit the Liberal party. Certainly, Howard ministers, and Downer in particular, have a reputation for being careful with the truth that Haneef is yet to acquire.
Seemingly, the worst that can be said about Haneef is that he chatted regularly to his family, some of whom later turned out to be criminals.
The latest furore about his diary entries, where three years ago, and 2 years before he came to Australia, he jotted down the addresses of his relatives in London certainly seem to be in keeping with the good cardinal's adage.
On the (lack of) evidence submitted so far, Haneef does seem to be the Honest Man - it is lucky for him that Australia has repealed the death penalty.