In The News South Africa

Terror case against Thulsie twins postponed

JOHANNESBURG, May 15 (ANA) – The case of terror accused twins Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie was again postponed on Monday at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court because the defence did not have access to relevant documents.

However, Advocate Annelene Van Den Heever for the defence asked the court not to allow a lengthy postponement of the matter. The postponement would enable the state to give the defence the digital and hardcopy evidence documents.

Van den Heever also agreed to the centralisation of the cases against the accused, which would allow Free State fraud charges to be heard together with the terror-related charges in the High Court.

At the previous appearance of the Thulsie twins, state prosecutor, Chris MacAdam, told the court the pair faced 12 charges, which included an additional charge of fraud in the Free State.

The Gauteng Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) needed to communicate with their Free State counterparts on whether the charges would be combined or heard separately in different jurisdictions.

The twins have been in prison since their arrest in July 2016. They have since been charged with conspiracy and incitement to commit the crime of terrorism and conspiring and attempting to commit acts associated with terrorist activities.

State advocate Adele Barnard told the court on Monday that the matter had been set down for the finalisation of the centralisation documents and that they had met with the DPP and correspondence had been forwarded to the defence.

But the defence indicated that they could not give consent due to them not yet having received the state’s evidence documents.

Barnard told the court that they had been in communication with the defence since April in attempts to finalise the matter. There had been “sensitive digital constraints” for the digital format as requested by the defence.

A forensic expert who could send the documents was currently in Limpopo and would only be assist when she returned.

The 13-page indictment stated that the twins were attempting to join ISIL and that the terrorist activities would have been perpetrated by using firearms, explosives and possibly poisons and would have been directed at various Embassies of countries including the United Kingdom, Russia and the United States, based in Pretoria.

South African Jewish cartoonist, Jonathan Shapiro, was also listed in the indictment as a target of the twins.

It is alleged that in August 2015, one of the twins, Tony-Lee, participated in a series of Telegram chats with Abu Fidaa (an ISIL/ISIS network) and others, where he was instructed to attack the best targets involving “US/Brit/French interest in South Africa”, as well as to kill Zapiro, who once drew a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.

On Monday, the twins sat in the dock with white scarfs on their heads. Their family members sat in the public gallery.

“It is a complete misnomer by the state that the investigations were completed and the defence was entitled to the documents,” said Van den Heever.

She said she had spoken to the state and they were afraid of contamination of the digital documents and there was a request for a bulk of the pages of the documents be given to the defence in digital form and the rest in hard copy.

“They have had more than enough time to provide the documents to the defence. To make a copy takes a few hours. The state could have done this,” Van den Heever said.

“Two weeks is way too long we need to move this matter to the High Court.”

Van den Heever suggested the matter be postponed to Monday.

However, Barnard said the forensic expert would only be able to have the digital dockets ready on 1 June and that there was no one else who could assist.

The matter was eventually adjourned to 29 May.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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