DA welcomes Dewani extradition ruling

2013-07-24 22:13
Shrien Dewani (Picture: AFP)

Shrien Dewani (Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - The DA on Wednesday welcomed the decision by the Westminster Magistrate's Court to extradite Shrien Dewani to South Africa, to face trial for the murder of his wife Anni.

DA MP Diane Kohler-Barnard said justice in Dewani's case was long overdue.

The party had feared that comments made by former national police commissioner Bheki Cele would prevent Dewani's extradition.

Cele called Dewani "a monkey" in 2010, but later retracted his statement.

The British Press Association reported earlier that Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle made the ruling on the extradition in the Westminster Magistrate's Court in London.

His finding came despite arguments by Dewani's defence team that he could suffer setbacks in his mental health, if he was sent back to South Africa now.

Dewani has undergone treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression since his wife's death.

The defence wanted the decision delayed by six months. The 33-year-old British businessman had earlier been diagnosed with depression and PTSD.


Dewani's lawyers intended appealing the decision.

"Lawyers acting for Shrien Dewani will review today's [Wednesday] judgment and lodge an appeal, during which time Shrien will remain in the UK," Dewani's family said in a statement after the ruling.

"Shrien Dewani remains unfit to be extradited or to face trial. Shrien remains committed to returning to South Africa when his health would permit a full trial and when appropriate protections are in place for his health and safety.

"The legal process is ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment further," the statement reportedly read.

The courtroom was packed with Anni Dewani's relatives, who wore photographs of her pinned to their clothes, decorated with pink ribbons.

Riddle said: "It is not in question that Shrien Dewani will be returned to South Africa. The treating clinicians continue to state that Mr Dewani will recover.

"There has been recovery, but it has been slow. It may be a long time before Mr Dewani is fit to plead, but he may be closer to that point. It is not impossible that if returned now, then after a reasonable period of further treatment and assessment he will be found fit to plead and a trial can take place."

Anni’s death

He is suspected of ordering the killing of his new wife Anni, 28, who was shot as the couple travelled in a taxi on the outskirts of Cape Town in November 2010.

So far three men had been convicted for Anni's death.

Last year, South African Xolile Mngeni was convicted of premeditated murder for shooting her, and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Prosecutors claimed he was a hitman Dewani hired to kill his wife, something Dewani has consistently denied.

Taxi driver Zola Tongo was jailed for 18 years after he admitted his part in the killing.

Another accomplice, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, also pleaded guilty to murder and was handed a 25-year prison sentence.

Riddle ruled in 2011 that Dewani should be extradited, but this was successfully appealed against and he was ordered to look again at the case.

Read more on:    da  |  zola tongo  |  mziwamadoda qwabe  |  anni hindocha  |  xolile mngeni  |  shrien dewani  |  cape town  |  honeymoon hijacking

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