Thulsie twins – Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee are 23-year-old terror suspect twins. The brothers are accused of planning to bomb the American diplomatic mission and Jewish institutions in Johannesburg.
The Hawks arrested the twins in July 2016 on suspicion they had been plotting terrorist attacks against a United States mission in Johannesburg, as well as Jewish cultural sites. The attacks are said to be part of a mission they were allegedly carrying out on behalf of the Islamic State terrorist organisation.
Here’s what you need to know:
- The Twin Brothers Were Arrested During An Anti-Terrorism Raid
Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie were arrested in July last year during raids in Newclare and Azaadville, in the West Rand District Municipality for planning to set off explosives at a US embassy and “Jewish institutions” in South Africa.
2. The Brothers Were Arrested Along With Their Siblings
Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie were nabbed by the Hawks along with Ibrahim and Fatima Patel during the anti-terror raids across Gauteng. Ibrahim and Fatima Patel were arrested in Azaadville on the West Rand and were initially denied bail at the Kagiso Magistrate’s Court.
The Patels were charged separately from twin brothers Brendon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie. Ibrahim is a 33-year-old businessman and a father of three while Fatima is 24 and single.
3. The Case Against The Twins Has Since Gained International Recognition
Since the arrest of the brothers, foreign Intelligence Agencies have indicated interest in pursuing the case. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is said to have been securing mutual legal assistance agreements with seven countries, including France, America and Kenya.
Also, the State had approached the Syrian and Turkish governments because there was information that the twins had wanted to go to Syria. The NPA is reportedly now in the process of finalising mutual legal assistance agreements in order to use the information against the pair.
4. The Thulsie Twins Are Linked To Other Terror Arrests In Foreign Countries
It emerged during their court appearance that the twins had knowledge about some terror attacks that happened outside the shores of South Africa. The State revealed in court that terror arrests made in the UK in November last year led to evidence which further implicates the Thulsie twins in terror activities. They are allegedly linked to the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS).
5. The Brothers Are Facing Three Counts Charges
Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie are facing three counts of contravening the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act. These charges were validated after the court struck off claims that they were posing with paintball equipment and not real guns, as seen in a picture used as evidence.
6. The Twins Made Incriminating Statements On The Social Media Prior To Their Arrest
Prior to their arrest in July, the court heard that the twins had been active on social media discussing matters that could incriminate them. A document titled: “Mujahid Guide 2015 – How to survive in the West”, was also found on one of their devices. A mujahid is one who is engaged in the act of jihad.
An investigating officer also found a press statement relating to the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015 on one of the twins’ devices.
The Case Has Been Postponed To April 2017
Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie are currently in custody following their appearance in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday 25 January 2017. The Thulsies had voluntarily abandoned their bail applications.
Magistrate Peter du Plessis granted the State application for a postponement in the case until April 25. The State was given three months to obtain additional evidence from international agencies, which it says is relevant to the twins’ case.