Twins’ terror case linked to foreign crime
State seeks more time for international investigation
TERROR-ACCUSED twins Brandon-Lee and TonyLee Thulsie could face several more months in jail before their case goes to trial.
State prosecutor Chris MacAdam told the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday that recent arrests made in Kenya and Britain were believed to be related to the Thulsie case, prompting them to ask for a lengthy postponement.
Clad in black headscarves and jackets, the twins were ushered into the dock, stealing looks at their family with smiles on their faces. Family members and friends blew kisses at the boys, who in turn winked and pulled thumbs-ups.
When the boys turned their heads to face the magistrate, their mother Wasiela burst into tears, rocking backwards and forwards, her head in her hands.
As proceedings began, MacAdam said they had been informed about the overseas arrests after the twins’ last court appearance in November last year. He appealed to Magistrate Pieter du Plessis for an April postponement to finalise their investigation.
“We will be finished with our investigation by the end of March, and it will be finalised by the end of April.
“The State was unaware of the involvement of foreign countries when it arrested the twins in July 2016,” he said.
MacAdam said he knew that it was unusual to ask for such a long postponement but explained that it was necessary to do so to gather the relevant evidence. “The major issue relates to securing evidence from a number of international states. It’s an international matter,” he said.
He claimed that he needed to obtain further evidence from other countries including the US‚ Turkey and Syria.
“The NPA and SA Police Service will meet with US authorities at the end of March to discuss evidence unearthed in their undercover operation and investigation, which is also relevant to this case,” MacAdam added.
Although the boys seemed confident and relaxed, one was seen fervently biting his nails during proceedings.
Defence advocate Annelene van den Heever vehemently opposed the application by the State‚ arguing that it lacked particularity and that the state had had more than enough time to gather its evidence from foreign countries.
She said the State’s reasons for postponement were “wishywashy” and “airy-fairy”, for which she was reprimanded.
“The court cannot rely on speculation. The State needs to take this court into its confidence and explain if process is being followed and how long it will take to gather this evidence,” she said
The magistrate interrupted her, explaining that the State did give a timeline.
“Throughout the whole thing they have said their investigations will be complete by the end of March.”
Van den Heever then went on to question how this new evidence being obtained would fit into the State’s case. “What’s the relevance of getting such information from foreign governments?”
Magistrate du Plessis decided to postpone the case to Friday when further arguments will be heard in response to the State’s request to postpone the matter.
TWINS: Brandon-Lee and TonyLee Thulsie face terror-related charges for trying to join Islamic State in 2015 and planning to bomb US and Jewish institutions in South Africa.