Terror-accused Thulsie twins to pay police minister's legal bill

2018-02-20 16:15
Supporters of the Thulsie twins at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court. (Wim Pretorius, News24)

Supporters of the Thulsie twins at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court. (Wim Pretorius, News24)

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Johannesburg – The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday ordered terror-accused twins, Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie, to foot a Minister of Police legal bill, after they abandoned their application for access to police documents they needed to prepare their defence.

The brothers were arrested during raids in Newclare and Azaadville, on the West Rand, in July 2016.

They were allegedly linked to the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) group and were allegedly planning to detonate explosives at a US embassy and Jewish institutions in South Africa, according to the charge sheet.

ALSO READ: Thulsie twins to challenge constitutionality of Terrorism Act

The twins, who were previously represented by attorney Annelene van den Heever, have also appointed a new legal representative, advocate Saleem Khan.

At a previous court appearance, the brothers were provided with access to the docket, which contains information about the State's case against them, so that they can prepare their defence.

However, they later lodged an application requesting access to additional documents, which did not form part of the docket. They also asked to consult with State witnesses.

Wasted costs

The additional documents were in the hands of the South African Police Service only.

The Minister of Police therefore had to be joined to the proceedings in order to oppose the application.

But the twins later abandoned the application, after they were informed that they had not made out a case for the relief they sought.

ALSO READ: Defence lawyers need 'special' software to download Thulsie twins documents

On Tuesday, Judge Raylene Keightley ordered them to pay the wasted costs incurred by the minister.

Keightley said the police complied with all the rules and said there was never an undertaking from the applicants that they would not proceed.

"It is only just and equitable that the party that seeks the withdrawal of the application in these circumstances, should be ordered to pay the wasted cost to the Minister of Police," Keightley said.

In the indictment, submitted to the court in April 2017, the State lists 12 activities the twins were allegedly instructed to carry out, using firearms, explosives and possibly poison.

Terrorist plans

It stated: "In August 2015 [Tony-Lee] became a participant in a series of Telegram chats with Abu Fidaa, an ISIS network, and other persons whose real identities are unknown to the State, during which he was instructed to:

• attack the best targets involving 'US/Brit/French interest in SA';
• kill Zapiro, who drew the Messenger of Allah cartoon;
• kill Jews who fight in Israel and return to South Africa;
• kill affluent Jews; and
• kill a gay imam 'as yet unidentified'.

Other targets included King David High School in Linksfield, Johannesburg, the UK High Commission, the US and Russian embassies, the first secretary to the French mission, Jewish investment banker Roy Topol, SA Zionist Federation Telfed, state-owned arms manufacturer Denel, Jewish community events and foreign interests at airports.

ALSO READ: Court security risk discussed in Thulsie twins' terrorism case

It is alleged that Tony-Lee discussed terrorist plans with an undercover US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent between May and June 2016. He believed the agent was an ISIS operative, based in the US.

He allegedly sought advice about making bombs and asked for funding and is accused of soliciting support for ISIS, using his personal Facebook page.

Brandon-Lee allegedly acquired the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook by Abdel-Aziz, and the manual How to Survive in the West: A Mujahid Guide, which teaches readers how to "live a double life" and "how to keep your secret life private".

The case was postponed to April 16.

Read more on:    saps  |  tony-lee thulsie  |  brandon-lee thulsie  |  johannesburg  |  security  |  crime

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