Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie
Alias/es: Salahuddin and Yaqeen ibn Hernani
Organisation/s: Islamic State (suspected)
Nationality/ies: South African
Travel History: Syria (attempted)
According to a South African special investigative unit, the Hawks, Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie attempted to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State in 2015. The twins had been under surveillance for a suspected plot to target Jewish and American institutions in South Africa after it was alleged the pair had been conspiring to undertake acts of terror on behalf of the Islamic State from October 2015 until their arrest on the 9th of July 2016. The Thulsie twins were arrested with Ebrahim and Fatima Patel in Newclare and Azaadville on the West Rand just west of Johannesburg and charged with three counts of contravening the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act.
In April 2017, the State requested the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg give it more time to gather evidence from foreign (intelligence) sources after it was alleged that Tony-Lee sought advice on how to acquire and develop materials to make bombs two months prior to their arrest from an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agent, which he believed was an Islamic State operative. The State further alleges that Tony-Lee was a participant in an Islamic State channel, Abu Fidaa, on the highly encrypted messaging platform, Telegram. Here, he was instructed to kill Jews and target Jewish sites such as King David High School in Linksfield, Jewish investment banker Roy Topol, the South African Zionist Federation Telfed and other Jewish community events. Other suggested targets included foreign consulates like the British High Commission, the United States (US) and Russian embassies, as well as the first secretary to the French mission. Further evidence presented by the State, include allegations that Brandon-Lee acquired manuals such as How to Survive in the West: A Mujahid Guide and a Mujahideen Poisons Handbook by Abdel-Aziz.
The Thulsie twins have been behind bars for 4 years awaiting trial. In January 2020, the twins launched a new bid for bail for the second time since their arrest in 2016. However, the State slammed the twin’s lawyers with a 266-page affidavit challenging their appeal. Annelene van den Heever, one of the lawyers of the accused requested a postponement to review and respond to the contents of the State’s affidavit rejecting the twin’s bail application.
The Thulsie Twins remain behind bars.
Featured Image Source: Terror Accused Twins to Return to Court