State looks abroad for evidence in Thulsie terror case
The twin brothers accused of planning acts of terrorism‚ Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie‚ may wait months more to stand trial as the state seeks evidence beyond South African borders.
Prosecutor Chris MacAdam on Tuesday asked the Johannesburg Magistrates Court for a final postponement of the case to obtain further evidence from countries like the USA‚ Turkey and Syria.
He said it was unusual but necessary to ask for a postponement until April for this reason.
“This is not simply local evidence that can be monitored by the court on a two-week basis. The major issue relates to securing evidence from a number of international states.”
The brothers from Newclare‚ west of Johannesburg‚ were arrested on July 9 last year after their homes were searched and computers and mobile devices were taken by police.
They face three counts relating to terrorism for their alleged attempts to travel to Syria to join Islamic State and alleged plans to attack US and Jewish interests in South Africa.
MacAdam said the state would‚ in the coming months‚ obtain information from other governments linked to the Thulsie case.
According to the state‚ the twins had posted incriminating evidence on their social media accounts. It is seeking access to this information from service providers like Google through US authorities.
“The US also has jurisdiction over the case. They have registered a local case and they will subpoena service providers‚” MacAdam said.
US authorities have made themselves available to the National Prosecuting Authority and the police in the last week of March to go through information provided to them by these service providers‚ due earlier in that month.
MacAdam said the state had also approached Syria‚ Turkey‚ Kenya and Mozambique for information and that diplomatic relations were being used to assist the process.
The brothers were allegedly planning to travel to Syria‚ through Turkey. They had allegedly also tried to travel through Mozambique.
MacAdam said arrests in Kenya and Britain‚ which recently came to state’s attention‚ have allegedly also yielded evidence key to the Thulsie case.
Advocate Annelene van den Heever‚ for the defence‚ opposed the application by state‚ arguing that it lacked particularity.
For example‚ it had not told the court which social media service providers it was seeking information from and whether such information would be forthcoming‚ she said.
Magistrate Pieter du Plessis will hear final arguments on the matter by both parties on Friday. – TMG Digital