Crusaders terror plot suspects

Photo: @ali_naka / TW

Crusaders terror plot: Case against alleged supremacists will be filmed

The four accused appeared before the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court, on Monday.

Crusaders terror plot suspects

Photo: @ali_naka / TW

On Monday, the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court was packed with media personnel at the first appearance of the four alleged Crusaders terrorists.

Crusaders terror plot: What’s the latest?

Harry Johannes Knoesen, Riana Heymans, Eric Abrams and Errol Abrams stand accused of masterminding a terror plot that was foiled, in the 11th-hour, by the Hawks’ Crimes Against The State (CATS) squad.

Accordng to the Hawks, a two-year investigation into self-claimed leader of the National Christian Resistance Movement (otherwise known as the Crusaders), Knoesen, uncovered a terror plot to target national key points, shopping malls and informal settlements.

It is believed that Knoesen, with the assistance of the co-accused trio, was going to use explosives and an arsenal of weapons to reek havoc in the Mpumalanga city.

Court proceedings were stalled by the fact that three of the four suspects — Knoesen, Heymans and Errol — did not have legal representation. Before the court could institute the State’s charges on the roll, the presiding judge had to rule on media requests for filming proceedings.

This, according to freelance reporter, Erin Bates, did not sit well with the quadruple, who stated that they were concerned with the safety of their respective families.

Court approves filming: What will happen next?

After a brief adjournment to allow the three suspects enough time to seek legal counsel, the court proceeded and Magistrate Lindiwe Vuyeka granted the media permission to film the trial.

Furthermore, the magistrate informed the accused Crusaders that, unless they strike a deal with the State, they all face a maximum of life imprisonment should they be found guilty.

She also told the Crusaders that they have seven days to apply for bail or face the possibility of being remanded in custody until the commencement of the trial. This, Vuyeka explained, is all dependent on whether the merits of the application allow for bail to be granted.

The State has been given until 21 January 2020 to build a case against the accused.