Mosque at­tack ac­cused to learn fate later this month

The Witness - - NEWS - KERUSHUN PIL­LAY • kerushun.pil­lay@wit­ness.co.za

THE 11 men ac­cused of be­ing in­volved in a lo­cal Is­lamic State (Isis) cell will know their fate on bail later this month.

Mag­is­trate Ir­faan Khalil ad­journed the marathon bail ap­pli­ca­tion to No­vem­ber 27 for judg­ment at the Veru­lam Mag­is­trate’s Court, not­ing that he had an 800-page “moun­tain of ev­i­dence” to go through.

Bail of R100 000 has al­ready been granted to ac­cused Goolam Mo­hammed Rashid Haf­fe­jee and the state had dropped charges for seven ac­cused out of an ini­tial 19 that were ar­rested.

They are ac­cused in con­nec­tion with the May at­tack on the Imam Hus­sein Mosque in Ot­tawa, Veru­lam, where a wor­ship­per, Ab­bas Es­sop, was mur­dered, and two oth­ers were stabbed.

The group is also al­leged to be re­spon­si­ble for ex­plo­sive de­vices be­ing found at Wool­worths out­lets around Dur­ban. They also al­legedly ex­torted money from busi­nesses to fund Isis-in­spired ac­tiv­i­ties.

The state al­leges that a home on Nugget Road, Reser­voir Hills, was be­ing used by the ac­cused as an Isis “train­ing camp”, where Isis flags, ex­trem­ist mag­a­zines, and ma­te­rial on how to make bombs were re­cov­ered.

Most of them were ar­rested at a home on Ful­ham Road, Reser­voir Hills, which is owned by ac­cused Farhad Hoomer, who the state al­leges is the leader of the group. Ex­plo­sive de­vices were al­legedly seized from the house.

State ad­vo­cate Adele Barnard has im­plored the court to con­sider the to­tal­ity of ev­i­dence when de­cid­ing on bail, and not to see the ev­i­dence in iso­la­tion.

She also warned that po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions were only in their ini­tial stages, and there was a lot more ev­i­dence to come.

Hoomer’s ad­vo­cate Jimmy Howse, pre­vi­ously ar­gued that the state had lit­tle ev­i­dence to link Hoomer to the in­ci­dents, and claimed po­lice ac­tu­ally pounced on a prayer meet­ing — and not an Isis meet­ing — when they ar­rested the ma­jor­ity of a group at the Ful­ham Road house on Oc­to­ber 5.

Ad­vo­cate for ac­cused Ahmed Haf­fe­jee, Joe Wol­marans, sim­i­larly ar­gued that the state could not link him to the case, and de­nied that so-called ex­trem­ist ma­te­rial, like mag­a­zines linked to his client, meant that he was in­deed an ex­trem­ist.

Sinthamanie Naidu, act­ing on be­half of the rest of the ac­cused, said the state had no rea­son to ar­rest most of the ac­cused in the first place, and ac­cused po­lice of “un­law­fully” ar­rest­ing the group with­out a war­rant.

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