Mosque attack accused to learn fate later this month
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.