Alleged Isis trio apply for legal aid after attorneys withdraw in murder case

08 June 2021 - 15:14
Fatima Patel, Sayfudeen Aslam Del Vecchio and Ahmad 'Bazooka' Mussa are accused of murdering botanists Rod and Rachel Saunders. File photo.
Fatima Patel, Sayfudeen Aslam Del Vecchio and Ahmad 'Bazooka' Mussa are accused of murdering botanists Rod and Rachel Saunders. File photo.
Image: JACKIE CLAUSEN

The attorneys representing three alleged Isis-affiliated accused on trial for double murder have withdrawn their representation of the trio. 

Sayfudeen Aslam Del Vecchio‚ his wife Fatima Patel and their Malawian boarder Ahmad “Bazooka” Mussa, accused of kidnapping and murdering Cape Town botanists Rodney and Rachel Saunders in KwaZulu-Natal, appeared in the Durban high court on Monday. 

Their instructing attorney Yusuf Cassim withdrew his representation after not being paid.

TimesLIVE previously reported that Del Vecchio was attempting to sell properties in Italy to pay their legal fees to Cassim and legal heavyweight advocate Jimmy Howse.

The accused had no option but to opt for legal aid representation as a date for pretrial has been set down for July 26. The trial itself is set down for August 16-September 17.

Del Vecchio, Patel and Mussa allegedly kidnapped and murdered the Saunders in February 2018. They also face charges of theft and contravention of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act.

Police allege Del Vecchio planned and executed the killings.

The matter has been plagued by delays, with consultation being an issue, since Del Vecchio and Mussa were transferred to Ebongweni maximum security prison in Kokstad after prison officials said they had uncovered a plot which would jeopardise Westville prison, where they were initially held, in May last year.

Patel remains at Durban’s Westville prison.

TimesLIVE


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