National 1.8.2016 03:03 pm

Thulsie twins were planning to migrate to Turkey not join ISIS, argues defence

These photographs formed part of the investigating officer's affidavit in the matter against Johannesburg twins Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie.

These photographs formed part of the investigating officer's affidavit in the matter against Johannesburg twins Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie.

Advocate Anneline van den Heever, representing Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie, told the court social media posts supporting ISIS don’t prove the twines wanted to join the terror group.

The defence in the case of the Johannesburg twins accused of terrorism, insisted on Monday that the siblings had wanted to visit Turkey for an interview in order to emigrate there, and not to join ISIS.

Those seated in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court listened attentively as advocate Anneline van den Heever cross-examined the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation’s (Hawks) lead detective, Wynand Olivier, by asking if social media posts supporting ISIS suggested that a person wanted to join the organisation.

Olivier admitted that he didn’t see posts that Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie intended to join ISIS, but that he remained convinced that they might have been interested to join as they had numerous posts supporting ISIS.

“We don’t believe they wanted to emigrate because family members are the ones who alerted the airline concerning the accused’s plans of going to Syria,” said Olivier.

The Thulsie twins, who were arrested last month, are accused of plotting a terror attack in which they allegedly planned to set off explosions at a US Mission in South Africa and at Jewish institutions in the country.

Van den Heever argued that the Hawks did not apply for an arrest warrant because they had no evidence to do so, to which Olivier replied that they had evidence to apply for an arrest warrant but chose not to apply for one.

He said the arrest wouldn’t have taken place at that moment, but it came after State witness Renaldo Smith (also known as Arashad Smith) gave them information which corresponded with what they already knew, and items found during a raid prompted the arrests.

He said during the raid at one of the brother’s houses, they found notes on how to join ISIL, how to get fake yellow fever certificates, as well as an index on bomb-making plans and how to execute attacks.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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