Police mistreatment

Ming Lai He was arrested last week under charges of contravening the Disaster Management Act.
Photo: WP Paarz / Flickr

Heavy security for ‘Isis trio’ court appearance in KwaZulu-Natal

The uncovering of an alleged violent escape attempt by the ‘Isis trio’ led to a massive police presence at the Verulam Family Court in KwaZulu-Natal.

Police mistreatment

Ming Lai He was arrested last week under charges of contravening the Disaster Management Act.
Photo: WP Paarz / Flickr

The South African Police Service (SAPS) and armed metro police were out in full force at the Verulam Family Court for the appearance of the ‘Isis trio’ after an alleged escape attempt was uncovered.

Proceedings were held behind closed doors on Monday after a successful application from senior state prosecutor Mahen Naidu.

Alleged ‘Isis trio’ escape attempt uncovered

The application was based on an affidavit submitted by investigating officer Adriaan van Jaarsveld, which included a detailed sketch of the Verulam Family Court including all of the exits to the building.

Van Jaarsveld found the sketch, and other related documents, on one of the trio – namely Sayfudeen Aslam Del Vecchio – during a random search of his cell while he was being detained at Westville Prison earlier in the year.

“The sketch marked vital access points in and around the family court building, access points, main roads, and lookout points, which were an indication of a planned escape by the accused,” said Van Jaarsveld, according to TimesLive.

Investigating officer Adriaan van Jaarsveld

Huge risk to the general public

There have been repeated reports of thwarted escape attempts by Del Vecchio and his co-accused, his wife Fatima Patel and Ahmad Mussa, which was also confirmed by Van Jaarsveld.

“Intelligence has shown that the accused would not refrain from attacking the police, prosecutors and the judicial staff and would die as martyrs in the process, as per their ideology,” the affidavit read.

“There will be a considerable amount of violence and threats to make good of their escape attempt.

“The use of force by firearms and other related objects during the escape attempt will definitely cause serious harm, injury, or fatalities to the public, police, and court officials. The plan was to use human beings as shields and hostages in the attack.”

Investigating officer Adriaan van Jaarsveld

As a result, police in the province was taking no chances.

Charges of kidnapping and murder

Del Vecchio, his wife, and Mussa are facing charges of kidnapping and murder for an incident involving two botanists based in Cape Town.

The pair were in KwaZulu-Natal in February 2018 collecting rare plants when they were apparently abducted and killed.

Mussa, also known by the alias Bazooka, Patel, and Del Vecchio also appear to have ties to those facing charges of terrorist activities in connection with the bomb plot at the Durban July in 2018 as they are all being represented by the same legal counsel.

The investigations into both the ‘Isis trio’ and the Durban July bombers were conducted the Hawks and global anti-terror agencies.

The three have been alleged to also have Isis sympathies leading to suggestions of links to the international terror group.

The case has been postponed to 16 October 2019 for further investigation.