Dewani will go to ‘luxury’ jail: report

2011-05-05 07:02

South African prison officials have assured a UK court that honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani would be sent to only the best prisons if he was convicted, reports said today.

Dewani’s lawyers are opposing his extradition on the grounds that South African prisons are dangerous and that he was likely to be assaulted and raped if held here.

But the Belmarsh Magistrate’s Court in London heard testimony yesterday from Judge Deon van Zyl, the Judge Inspector of Prisons, that there was no overcrowding in Goodwood, Malmesbury Medium A or Brandvlei Maximum B prisons, reported The Star newspaper.

In fact, the Malmesbury prison “looked too much like a five-star hotel”, said Van Zyl.

The UK court was assured that Dewani would be held in one of the best prisons, in a single cell with a flushing toilet and hot and cold running water.
He would also be closely monitored to ensure his protection.

The court heard on Tuesday that South African authorities had an unnamed witness who would testify that Dewani told him he needed to “find a way out” of his marriage, the Press Association in the UK reported.

South Africa is seeking to extradite Dewani over the killing of his Swedish bride Anni, who was shot dead in the back of a taxi in Cape Town in November last year.

Hugo Keith QC, representing the South African authorities, told the court on Tuesday: “Dewani told (the witness) in April 2010 how he was engaged and had to get married.

“He said although she was a nice, lovely girl who he liked, he could not break out of the engagement because he would be disowned by his family. He went on to say to the witness he needed to find a way out of it.”

Dewani (31), is accused of arranging for Anni (28), to be killed in a staged hijacking in Gugulethu, a township in Cape Town.

The charges against him included kidnapping, robbery with aggravated circumstances, conspiracy to commit murder and obstructing the administration of justice.

Taxi driver Zola Tongo, who drove the newly wed couple to dinner on the night of the murder, is already serving an 18-year jail term after he made a plea deal with the State, in which he testified that he had helped Dewani find people to kill his wife for R15 000. 

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