State granted post­pone­ment in Thulsie ter­ror case

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - ILANIT CHERNICK

THE STATE was yes­ter­day granted a three-month post­pone­ment to con­tinue gath­er­ing ev­i­dence from in­ter­na­tional sources against ter­ror-ac­cused twins Bran­don-Lee and TonyLee Thulsie.

Dur­ing court pro­ceed­ings last week, pros­e­cu­tor Chris MacA­dam said the State would with­draw the charges if no ev­i­dence ma­te­ri­alised from the in­ter­na­tional coun­tries it was col­lab­o­rat­ing with.

The State ar­gued the post­pone­ment was nec­es­sary to con­sult the gov­ern­ments of the US‚ Britain, France‚ Kenya, Mozam­bique‚ Syria and Tur­key to gather fur­ther ev­i­dence in the case.

In grant­ing the post­pone­ment, mag­is­trate Peter du Plessis said the State had proved it was not an un­rea­son­able re­quest. “It’s far more com­plex to get in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion than to take a state­ment from a witness lo­cally. This isn’t just walk­ing into a house and sit­ting down to ques­tion the witness,” he said.

“South Africa is part of an in­ter­na­tional body of nations that has as­cribed to a cer­tain at­ti­tude to­wards ter­ror­ism. We have to sup­port and as­sist each other in the preven­tion and pro­tec­tion of ter­ror­ist-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties.

“The State has a duty both to our so­ci­ety and to other nations to take all the law­ful steps for ef­fec­tive pros­e­cu­tion,” Du Plessis added.

Ad­dress­ing any fur­ther is­sue of whether a pre­ma­ture ar­rest had been made, the mag­is­trate said this was not the case.

“The ar­rest was deemed law­ful be­cause they were a flight risk and had at­tempted to join Isis in Libya and Syria, which the UN deems a ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion.

It was ap­pro­pri­ate to im­me­di­ately ar­rest them be­cause they were a flight risk and in­tended to at­tack South African tar­gets,” Du Plessis said.

But he made it clear he was not there to pro­nounce on the Thulsies but to deal solely with the mat­ter of post­pone­ment.

At the news of the de­lay, the mother of the twins burst into un­con­trol­lable sobs while her daugh­ter held her close in the court gallery.

The State said pre­vi­ously the US au­thor­i­ties had made them­selves avail­able to meet the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity and the po­lice dur­ing the last week of March to dis­cuss ev­i­dence re­gard­ing to the case.

MacA­dam said he knew it was un­usual to ask for such a long post­pone­ment but ar­gued it was nec­es­sary to gather the rel­e­vant ev­i­dence. “This is not sim­ply lo­cal ev­i­dence that can be mon­i­tored by the court on a two-week ba­sis.”

The twins will re­main in cus­tody un­til the next hear­ing on April 25.

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ON TRIAL: Bran­don-Lee and TonyLee Thulsie

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