Some of the protesters outside the courthouse calling for no bail for the accused.
Eleven men accused of the fatal bomb attack at the Imam Hussain Mosque in Verulam and the placement of various explosive devices in Woolworths stores at various shopping centres around Durban, applied for bail via sworn affidavits in the Verulam Family Court on Monday.
The 11 accused form part of a larger group of 19, who were arrested in connection with the attacks. One of them was released on R100, 000 bail last week.
The charges against the seven remaining men were provisionally withdrawn after the court heard that they were not pointed out during an identification parade.
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According to their affidavits, most of the accused were arrested while praying on Friday, October 5.
They allege that they had received a message saying that the inauguration of a new prayer facility would be held that Friday and they attended the event.
While in the middle of prayers, “police officials just barged in and interrupted” them. Seventeen out of the 19 people who were initially arrested were at the mosque at the time and were all taken to
Durban Central police station where they were charged and asked to make statements.
One of the accused was a foreign national whose visa had expired just four days before being arrested.
Another, Abubaker Ali, was the only one among the accused who had a previous conviction. He has been previously found guilty of theft and house break-in with the intent to steal for which he was sentenced to 11 months in prison.
One of the accused, a businessman, who according to his affidavit, owns four businesses which have a turnover of R5 million per month, said he was only a suspect in the attack because of his late wife’s cellphone movement.
He said Colonel Johannes Vreugdenburg, who is overseeing the entire investigation in the matter, found that the cellphone in question moved from the tower at La Mercy Hotel at 13:29pm to Palmview Tower between 14:31pm and 14:35pm, and then back to the La Mercy Hotel Tower at 14:46pm on the day of the attack.
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The Palmview Tower is one of the cellphone towers that services the area where the Verulam mosque is situated, according to the first accused’s affidavit.
He said Vreugdenburg suspected that he was involved in the attack only because of the cellphone movement. He denied that he was involved in the placement of explosive devices at Woolworths stores.
“Vreugdenburg makes it clear in his affidavit that African males were involved,” said the businessman. He said he was only pointed out by the complainant in the kidnapping charge.
Magistrate Khalil warned the accused that their affidavits could be used as evidence against them at their trial and that it was a criminal offence to give incorrect information.
The application by media to take pictures and record proceedings was denied by both the state and the defence on the grounds that the case is a matter of national security and pictures may negatively impact proceedings.
Prosecutor Adele Barnard said all of the remaining accused had consented to giving samples of their DNA.
The state is ready to proceed with a formal bail application which took place on Tuesday.
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