SA cousins linked to al-Qaeda

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Associated Press

File photo: The General Assembly building at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The Dockrat cousins, now alleged to be running military training bases in South Africa, remain on the US sanctions list.

Johannesburg - The Dockrat cousins, now alleged to be running military training bases in South Africa, remain on the US sanctions list where they were put in 2007 for allegedly funnelling funding and trainees to al-Qaeda.

Jack Hillmeyer, spokesman for the US embassy in Pretoria, would not comment on the latest developments, apart from confirming that the Dockrat cousins Junaid Ismail Dockrat, a Joburg dentist, and his cousin, Farhad Ahmed Dockrat, a Pretoria Muslim cleric, were still on the sanctions list of the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac) where they were put on January 26, 2007.

And Sniper Africa, a company in which Junaid Dockrat reportedly holds a 70 percent owner’s stake, was also still on the list.

“They were put on our list and they’re still on our list,” Hillmeyer said in response to questions about whether the US still regarded them as suspect.

The listing means any bank accounts or other financial assets belonging to the two men and the company found in the US are frozen and Americans are forbidden from doing business with them.

In 2007, Ofac said that Farhad Dockrat had in 2001 provided $62 900 (R573 000) to the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan to be sent to al-Akhtar Trust, an al-Qaeda fundraiser based in Afghanistan.

Junaid Dockrat is suspected of acting as an al-Qaeda fundraiser, recruiter and facilitator, the government said. The US government alleges that he had worked via phone and e-mail with al-Qaeda’s now-dead operations chief Hamza Rabi’a to co-ordinate the travel of South Africans to Pakistan so that they could be trained by al-Qaeda.

The government also alleges that he raised $120 000 for the group.

Ofac director Adam Szubin said at the time that the listing “targets two family members that have supported al-Qaeda – one by providing funds to al-Akhtar Trust and another by facilitating travel for individuals to train in al-Qaeda camps”. He added: “This designation freezes the Dockrats out of the US financial system and notifies the international community of the dangerous conduct in which the Dockrats are engaged.”

At that time, the SA government blocked US attempts to place the Dockrats also on UN sanctions for terrorist suspects which would have subjected them to global sanctions. Pretoria said it first wanted to verify independently that they had done the things the US alleged.

Whether the government ever did try to verify the charges against the Dockrats is not clear but neither the Dockrats nor Sniper Africa appear on the current list.

Meanwhile, the DA said it

wanted answers on why a reported probe into al-Qaeda activities in South Africa was stopped.

DA spokeswoman Dianne Kohler-Barnard said on Monday: “South Africans deserve an explanation as to what happened and why the investigation was stopped. If there was no terrorist threat then Crime Intelligence should be able to explain their reasoning for halting their investigation,” she said.

She intended writing to acting chairwoman of the police portfolio committee, Annelize van Wyk, to request that acting head of crime intelligence, Chris Ngcobo, and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa brief the committee on the situation urgently.

 Earlier, the Hawks declined to comment on a report that police and the State Security Agency monitored training of al-Qaeda “terrorists” in South Africa without taking action.

The Star

* Daily Maverick retracts Dockrat al-Qaeda story

The Daily Maverick has retracted a report which implicated two South Africans in alleged Al-Qaeda related activities, because of "inaccuracies".

 "After an exhaustive internal process, we now can acknowledge that there were inaccuracies in relation to Farhad and Junaid Dockrat in the article and we wish to set the record straight," it said in an apology posted on its website.

"We acknowledge that we are not in possession of evidence to show that Farhad Dockrat or Junaid Dockrat are linked to Al-Qaeda or any other terrorist organisation." - Sapa


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