Shrien Dewani at risk in SA, court hears

2011-12-13 17:36

London - A British man accused of hiring a hitman to kill his wife during their honeymoon in South Africa is too sick to stand trial and is at risk of violence or suicide if in custody there, his lawyer told a British court on Tuesday.

Clare Montgomery said her client, Shrien Dewani, was "too ill to be extradited" or to stand trial, and was a suicide risk.

She said Dewani wanted a fair trial, but "that is, at the moment, on the advice we have been given by those who are treating him, not possible".

Montgomery also said Dewani faced the risk of violence, including sexual violence, from other prisoners in South Africa.

Prosecutors say Dewani arranged the murder of his 28-year-old wife, Anni, who was found shot dead in an abandoned taxi in Cape Town's deprived Gugulethu township in November 2010.

A taxi driver, Zola Tongo, has been convicted of murder and says Dewani offered him R15 000 to arrange the killing and make it look like a carjacking.

British Home Secretary Theresa May approved the extradition of 31-year-old Dewani in September after a district judge ruled he should be sent to South Africa to stand trial.

Dewani denies involvement in his wife's death, and his lawyers say he is suffering from depression and severe post-traumatic stress.

Dewani, who is being treated in a psychiatric hospital, did not attend the start of the two-day high court hearing.

Read more on:    zola tongo  |  anni hindocha  |  shrien dewani  |  cape town  |  honeymoon hijacking

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