Hugs all round as alleged Isis loyalists get bail in Verulam bombing case
Eleven men accused of orchestrating the bloody Verulam mosque attack and a wave of alleged Isis-inspired firebomb attacks were granted bail in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
Farhad Hoomer along with Ahmed Haffejee‚ Thabit Mwenda‚ Mohamad Akbar‚ Seiph Mohamed‚ Amani Mayani‚ Abubakar Ali‚ Abbas Jooma‚ Mahammed Sobruin‚ Ndikumana Shabani and Iddy Omari were arrested in a coordinated Hawks raid on October 5.
Hoomer, the man the state painted as the alleged ringleader of the group, was released on R200,000 bail.
Haffejee will have to hand over R150,000 to the state to secure his release. Mwenda, Mohamed and Mayani were released on warnings while Akbar, Ali‚ Jooma, Sobruin, Shabani and Omari had bail set between R3,000 and R5,000.
Magistrate Irfaan Khalil said that while reasonable suspicion had been raised by the state, its case was not watertight.
"The applicants all challenged the identification parade with [the] overall objective that, on the balance of probabilities, the state’s case is weak and likely to fail.
"The probative value of the parade considered in isolation or in totality is greatly diminished," he said.
Khalil said that there were "bits and pieces" of evidence which linked Hoomer and Haffejee to the mosque attack and the wave of bombings, but not enough to deny them bail on the basis that the strength of the state’s case and the assurance of a conviction would cause them to evade their trial.
When the court adjourned, the men rose and hugged one another.
The 11 stand accused of being aligned to terror group Islamic State‚ with Hoomer allegedly orchestrating the fatal Verulam mosque attack in May, and a series of firebomb attacks at retail outlets in the months that followed.
The suspects face a raft of charges, ranging from murder to contravening the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act.
The men have to report to the Durban Central police station once a week and surrender their passports to the investigating officer.
They will return to court on February 22.