Courtroom cleared as case against terror-accused brothers postponed

2018-02-26 18:45
Usama Darwich Hamade, also known as Prince Sam. (Image via Facebook)

Usama Darwich Hamade, also known as Prince Sam. (Image via Facebook)

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Johannesburg – The court case of two brothers, Usama Darwich Hamade and Issam Hamade, who allegedly had links to an international terrorist organisation, was postponed in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The two Lebanese citizens - one a controversial Johannesburg-based businessman - have been accused by the United States of illegally exporting items to Hezbollah, a Lebanese political party which the US classifies as a terrorist organisation.

They were arrested last week.

Ahead of their court appearance on Monday, journalists and members of the public were asked to leave the courtroom. Only close relatives were allowed into the courtroom, under a strong police presence.

The case was postponed to March 1.

REVEALED: SA links in US’s Hezbollah terrorism export case

Last week, Usama was arrested at his home in Kempton Park, while Issam, also known as Tony, was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport as he arrived.

The US wants to extradite the two brothers to face charges there, but police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said last week that "normal extradition process[es]" will be followed.

At the time, he did not want to divulge any further information about the case.

The two brothers and another man are accused of working together to get certain items to Hezbollah.

News24 reported last week that South Africa, according to a US indictment, was a transit point which some of these items - including items which can be used in drones - were channelled through.

Another court document from Minnesota in the US stated: "The grand jury has alleged that all three defendants, from 2009 to 2013, conspired with each other, and with others known and unknown, to buy parts for unmanned aerial vehicles (hereinafter 'UAVs' or 'drones') from US suppliers, and then to export those UAV parts, in violation of US law, to Hizballah, which is designated as a 'foreign terrorist organisation'."

The US documents refer to Hezbollah as Hizballah.

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