Anni Dewani's family welcome extradition ruling

2014-01-31 17:06
Ami Denborg, sister of Anni Dewani, poses with a photo of the murdered woman. (Arne Lundström, Die Burger)

Ami Denborg, sister of Anni Dewani, poses with a photo of the murdered woman. (Arne Lundström, Die Burger)

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London - Family members of Anni Dewani, who was killed in Cape Town in November 2010, have welcomed a ruling by the British high court that her husband, Shrien, can be extradited to South Africa to stand trial for her murder.

Shrien Dewani on Friday lost his bid to block his extradition to South Africa until he is fit to stand trial. He has been fighting extradition from Britain until he has recovered from mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Anni Dewani's family, who were present in the court, welcomed the ruling.

Amit Karia, a cousin, speaking on their behalf, told reporters afterwards: "We are happy with the judgment. We have waited for it for three years, three months."

But he warned Dewani could still appeal to the Supreme Court, the highest court in Britain.

"We are always worried and don't take anything for granted," he said.

He described the situation for Anni Dewani's parents as "immensely difficult - they do not have normal life anymore."

He added: "They just want the truth - that is all we have ever wanted."

Not 'unjust and oppressive'

Earlier, lawyers for Dewani argued that he should not be sent to South Africa until he is fit to plead over the murder. He is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

But judges ruled it would not be "unjust and oppressive" to extradite him if the South African government agrees to return him to Britain if he never recovers sufficient health to go on trial.

The court heard that South Africa has indicated it was willing to give such a guarantee and has 14 days to do so.

A spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed to AFP it was prepared to give the undertaking.

"We're required to undertake that if he becomes unfit to stand trial while he is here, the government must send him back to Britain," said Bulelwa Makeke.

"That is obviously understandable and the State has agreed to make that undertaking."

Dewani, who has been committed to a mental hospital, is accused of ordering the killing of his 28-year-old wife, who was shot as the taxi the couple were travelling in was apparently hijacked.

Dewani denies any involvement in the killing.

Xolile Mngeni, was jailed for life for the murder. Two other local men jailed over the killing allege that Dewani ordered the hit.

Read more on:    anni dewani  |  shrien dewani  |  honeymoon hijacking

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