Members of the community are holding a demonstration today outside the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court in support of the Thulsie family and to call for the twins’ release. CAGE Africa previously called attention to the fact that much of the state’s case against the Thulsie twins is built around the statement of a witness who claims he was threatened.
According to documents seen by CAGE Africa, Arashan (Ronaldo) Smith claims that the chief investigating officer threatened to lock up members of his family, and made him sign a statement against the twins that he had not properly read.
The advocacy organisation wants closer scrutiny of this evidence and the way in which it was procured in order to adhere to due process. CAGE Africa believes the twins are being tried in the court of public opinion due to misinformation from the evidence presented.
“It is crucial that the court quickly evaluate the evidence in this case against the twins in a manner that is fair and which adheres to the rule of law. Using evidence that is procured through force or deception falls foul of due process, and will alienate and anger the community,” said Karen Jayes, spokesperson for CAGE Africa.
“The right to a fair trial is enshrined in our constitution and violating this principle under current counter-terrorism legislation sets a dangerous precedent in the way these cases are heard. It could even result in innocent people being tried and convicted under current laws.”
The twins have unsuccessfully challenged their arrest in July and want the case against them dismissed.
The 23 year old brothers were arrested upon suspicion that they had plans to bomb the American diplomatic mission and Jewish institutions in Johannesburg. They are also accused of instigating plans to flee South Africa to live in Islamic State territory.
They have been charged with three counts of contravening the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act. VOC