TERROR accused twins Tony-Lee and Brandon-Lee Thulsie doubt the credibility of the evidence the police claim link them to terrorism and activities related to the Islamic State (IS).
The 23-year-old brothers from Newclare have brought an application in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court to have their arrests and detentions declared unlawful. They say they were taken into custody by police officers without arrest warrants.
The Thulsies face three counts of terrorism relating to alleged attempts to travel to Syria to join IS, and alleged plans to attack US and Jewish interests in SA.
In a statement before the court‚ Detective Warrant Officer Wynand Olivier gave details of suspected IS-related activities in SA‚ naming the Thulsie brothers and siblings Ibrahim and Fatima Patel.
The Patels were arrested around the same time as the Thulsies‚ for alleged involvement in the same suspected terror plot.
Olivier said he believed the case of a teenage girl who tried to leave the country to join IS in the Middle East could be linked to the Patel siblings.
“It has been established that persons who were responsible for the recruitment were using the address 19 Gulshan Street‚ Azaadville and 70 Taj Mahal Street‚ Azaadville.”
Olivier said these addresses belong to the Patels.
He claimed the Thulsie brothers tried to leave SA for Turkey‚ in an attempt to reach Syria, where IS operates‚ with a Ronaldo Smit in April 2015.
Smit and Brandon-Lee Thulsie lived on the same street‚ according to Olivier.
“In this regard I also have information that to the effect that‚ inter alia‚ the three persons thereafter left the country for Mozambique. I suspect that this visit was also related to IS activities‚” he said.
Olivier alleged that Ibrahim Patel and Tony-Lee Thulsie had been in communication and had visited each other at their homes.
The Patels have been charged with possession of unlicensed ammunition and explosives. They are out on bail of R5,000 each.
Olivier said he had reasonable grounds to suspect the Thulsie brothers were linked to IS terrorist activities‚ but the brothers said they want to see proof backing Olivier’s claims.
“According to W/O Olivier, he first became aware of us on the basis of ‘information’ obtained‚ which ‘information’ led him to believe that we intended to join IS. He‚ however‚ does not state the source of the information‚” the brothers said in an affidavit.
The brothers said the police had no grounds on which to arrest them on July 9, and refer to a second statement by Olivier stating that they were informed of the allegations against them when they were arrested‚ but declined to give any explanation.
In it, Olivier said: “(Tony-Lee) indicated that he believed in what he had done and was prepared to go to jail.”
“In view of the credible information available coupled with the absence of any innocent explanation forthcoming from the accused … [we] had reasonable grounds for believing that the accused had in fact committed offences‚” Olivier said.
But the brothers said the police did not respect their right to remain silent.
They will appear in court on Friday‚ when the state will respond to the allegations that their arrests were unlawful.
If the state fails to prove that the arrests were legal‚ the brothers may be released.