Assistance from Somalia, Netherlands stalls ‘Isis-linked’ terror trial in KZN

The case of the three people who are accused of murdering two British botanists has been postponed until next month.

Aslam del Vecchio, Fatima Patel and Ahmad Mussa made an appearance in the Verulam Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

They are facing charges of murdering British botanists Rachel and Rodney Saunders in February last year.

They are also facing other charges of kidnapping, contravening the Terrorism Act and robbery. In proceedings on Wednesday the trio hired top Durban lawyer Advocate Jimmy Howse who is being instructed attorney Yusuf Cassim.

In their previous appearance the trio had been representing themselves.

State Advocate Mahen Naidu asked for the matter to be adjourned until February next year.

Howse however objected to this request.

“We find this unacceptable,” he said.

Howse said they had noticed the lengthy adjournments they case has already had.

He also argued that his client Mussa was not being treated well at Kokstad’s C-Max prison and had not had a shower for a week before he made his court appearance.

Howse said del Vecchio was being held with convicted prisoners where as he had not been convicted of the crimes he has been accused of committing.

Naidu said the reason they wanted the postponement was because they needed to do further investigations and needed mutual legal assistance from the Netherlands and Somali about the suspects’ banking details and that it was Somalia who had been holding back the matter.

Magistrate Irfaan Khalil agreed to the parties filing affidavits to give the reasons why they were against or in support of the matter being adjourned until next year. The parties were given until next month to submit their affidavits.