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CAGE Africa calls for calm in the wake of arrest of Thulsie brothers

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CAPE TOWN – The manner in which Sallahuddin Thulsie (Brandon-Lee) and Yakeen Thulsie (Tony-Lee) were arrested undermines their due process rights. CAGE Africa hopes this is not a manifestation of anti-Muslim sentiment within the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation.

In terrorism cases there is much speculation and hysteria so it is beholden on police to ensure that anti-terrorism laws are not applied to marginalise Muslims as has been the case in other countries.

Rather, violent crime should be dealt with by legislation that deals with violence. If allegations of any actual acts of terrorism do emerge, they should be treated as acts of criminality, thereby refusing to fuel the mythology of such acts being anything other than violent crime.

Between 20 and 30 armed police officers broke in to Wasiela Thulsie’s one-bedroomed house, where her son Sallahuddin resides with her, and did not produce a search warrant immediately on entry as is required. They then barged into the bedroom, where the two sleep, and made them lie on the floor at gunpoint.

A few minutes later they took Wasiela to the lounge which had already been searched. They put her on the couch surrounded by fully armed police officers and insisted she sign a document, which she did even though she was too stressed at the time to read it. Sallahuddin then joined her and signed the document as well.

They subsequently presented the search warrant, but did not present the affidavit corresponding to the search warrant, which was highly irregular. They then took some belongings. At one point Wasiela had to go the toilet, and she was accompanied by a police woman.

According to statements she made to CAGE Africa, a police officer also mocked her Qu’ran, a disgracefully excessive response lacking in professionalism but also stoking tensions.

The police raid of Yakeen Thulsie’s house, where he resides with his wife, Adila, also featured the breaking down of doors although there was no imminent threat posed by the family. There was no warrant presented for this search, and they were in the bedroom at the time police barged in. Adila did not have time to cover herself with her hijab. At the police station, one of the brothers was not allowed to take ablution to pray.

Karen Jayes, spokesperson for CAGE Africa, says: 

“The behaviour of the Hawks was unfortunate as it demonstrates a violation of Muslim property and belief. Such an approach will only isolate Muslims and sow the seeds of division.”

“We ask for a measured and responsible reporting of the facts in order to allow the judicial process to be fairly applied. Sallahuddin was not missing from work for two weeks. Rather, he had taken legitimate leave for illness for three days, and the remaining ten days he was in ‘itikaaf, the traditional spiritual retreat in the last ten days of Ramadaan, where men reside at the mosque.”

“There were at one point 20-30 armed police in Wasiela Thulsie’s house. The manner in which they broke into her property and held her at gunpoint harkens back to the darkest days of apartheid, where victims were presumed guilty, and their family members and kin criminalised and severely victimised.”

“The family is in shock. His sister has refuted that Sallahuddin was harbouring explosives, saying it is impossible. She reiterates that he has never held a gun in his life. He is also the breadwinner for the family, and supports his mother – which makes his continued detention a source of severe stress.”

“CAGE Africa supports the family and calls for calm,  justice and the rule of law to prevail, not least of all for the assumption of innocent until proven guilty to apply.”


Press enquiries:

Karen Jayes
CAGE Africa
+27 21 680-5177
+27 84 648-1425