Thulsie twins stay in jail as bail bid fails

The state put up affidavits deposed to by the lead detective in the case, Wynaand Olivier, in opposition of bail.

Terror-accused twins Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie won’t be leaving prison any time soon after their latest bid for bail was thrown out of the High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday.

After initially having abandoned bail following their arrests in 2016, the now 26-year-olds launched a fresh application earlier this year.

Charged with a raft of serious crimes – including planning to carry out terror attacks on home soil – the Thulsies had to show
there were exceptional circumstances warranting their release and Judge Ramarumo Monama found they had failed.

Police swooped on the Thulsies during raids in Newclare and Azaadville, on the city’s West Rand, in July 2016 – reportedly after the one of the brothers disclosed their alleged plans to carry out terror attacks in South Africa to an undercover FBI agent from the United States.

Their alleged targets reportedly included the US embassy, the UK High Commission, the South Africa Zionist Federation, King David High School and arms manufacturer Denel.

Monama on Thursday rubbished their argument that the state’s case against them was a weak one – saying while this line was advanced
“at every possible angle” and “with extraordinary enthusiasm,” it was “misplaced”.

The state put up affidavits deposed to by the lead detective in the case, Wynaand Olivier, in opposition of bail.

In those affidavits, Olivier pointed to multiple attempts the Thulsies had allegedly made to leave South Africa and join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), before they were arrested.

He also pointed to a photograph tweeted in May 2018 – days after 10 Mozambican citizens, among them children, had been
killed by terrorists – alongside the words:

“Day after reports of Islamist militants beheading 10 people in Mozambique, Islamic State supporters on Telegram circulate photos allegedly showing militants in the country and promising a forthcoming ‘Bay’ah’ or pledge of allegiance.”

Olivier said one of the men in the photograph had been identified as Renaldo Smith – an alleged accomplice of the Thulsies.

“It is at this stage unknown if the accused have any contact with Smith but in light of their close friendship, the possibility cannot be excluded,” he added.

Monama emphasised that none of this evidence had been challenged.

“Yet they maintain the case they are facing is weak,” he said, “In my view, there is no such weakness.”

Of the Thulsies’ arguments around the slow pace of their case – which more than four years after their arrests has yet to be brought to trial – Monama said they had occasioned many of the delays and as a result could not rely on it to secure bail.

He did, however, say he hoped that the case would be expedited.

“I’ve been informed the state is ready and I hope the defense and the state will approach the relevant authorities dealing with the allocation of trials to deal with this matter,” he said.

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