By Annisa Essack
Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie were arrested and charged with planning terrorist attacks in South Africa against the UK, US, Russian and French embassies, various Jewish interests, Shi’a mosques, and state-owned arms manufacturer Denel cartoonist Zapiro – for drawing cartoons of the prophet Mohamed (PBUH).
The Thulsies were indicted under the then untested 2005 Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorists and Related Activities Act or the “Terrorism Act” and face possible life imprisonment if convicted.
After five years behind bars, they are no closer to the trial’s start and are now fighting the delays. They appeared in court last week, and the matter was further postponed to this week to allow media to bring an application to broadcast the case live.
Attorney Yousha Tayob spoke to Radio Islam International, who says that the case has dragged on as there is a “finger-pointing exercise that has been going between the State and the defence in regard to trial readiness.”
Tayob explained that the defence is provided with the docket to prepare thoroughly for the case. Still, in this matter, a section of the docket was not presented to them, which then refutes the allegations by the State that they were prepared to go ahead with the case.
Although not the attorney working with the boys, he has been liaising with the attorneys, who have informed him that having received the last section would allow them to consider a deal with the State or proceed to trial.
He referred to some irregular matters in the case, for instance, the case being transferred from the regional to the High Court, saying this may be challenged, and the Constitutional Court will have to rule on it.
The bail application was refused, and the appeal was then abandoned. The idea is to now bring the bail application on appeal based on new information as circumstances have changed.
Tayob says there was no objection to the live reporting regarding the media broadcasting the case live, but they would prefer no cameras in court during the proceedings.
Tayob believes that FBI agents prompted the boys, and this entrapment matter constitutes a big part of the case.
Politics has, unfortunately, played a massive part in the case; according to Tayob and said political will seems to be an issue.
The next deadline in this ongoing saga is 20 July, when the defence lawyers must present their petition to the SCA.
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