Dewani suspects claim cop torture

2011-02-18 22:25

Cape Town - Two suspects implicated in the murder of Anni Dewani claim that he was beaten up by police and told what to say, their lawyers have told British newspapers.

The Swedish woman’s husband, Shrien Dewani, has been accused by Mziwamadoda Qwabe, Zola Tongo and Xolile Mngeni of plotting her murder.

Tongo, who was the taxi driver for the couple who were in Cape Town for their honeymoon in November, entered into a plea deal with the State for his part in the murder plot.

In return for a lesser sentence, Tongo gave a statement to the police stating that Shrien Dewani plotted his wife’s murder. Tongo claimed that he hired Mngeni and Qwabe to take Anni Dewani out.

In January, Qwabe confessed to having taken part in a “staged hijacking”.  

‘Beaten into confessing’

But now Qwabe’s lawyer, Thabo Nogemane, has claimed that detectives “suggested” to him what statement he should make.

Nogemane told the Daily Mail in the UK that after being arrested, his client was first assaulted by detectives then instructed on what to say in his “confession”.

Qwabe’s disputed “confession” is understood to be one of the main pieces of evidence linking Dewani to the murder of his wife.

Nogemane, told Britain’s The Guardian: "I am instructed that some unknown police officer assaulted him by means of a big torch. He was hit all over his body. The police in South Africa only hit in such a way that there are no marks, no evidence.

"He said the statement was a suggestion put to him by the police. They already had the allegations so they told him: 'Just sign here'. I wouldn't refer to it as a confession, just a statement."

Nogemane claimed Qwabe had an alibi. "They [the police] were under pressure; they had to act quickly and get information. They arrested the wrong people."

‘Suffocated, punched’

Vusi Tshabalala, Mngeni's lawyer, told the Guardian that his client had also been abused: "In the process of interrogating him, police would physically assault him with fists and use a plastic bag to suffocate him. He was frightened. He was angry."

Tshabalala believes the police used "irregular methods" because they were under pressure to solve such a high-profile crime.

Dewani, 31, is set to appear in a British court in May for his next extradition hearing.

He insists that he is innocent and should he return to South Africa, will receive an unfair trial.

His claim is given weight by the fact that South African police boss General Bheki Cele called Dewani a “monkey” who “came all the way  from London to murder his wife here”.

Dewani has missed his last two extradition hearings in London, claiming that the stress has made him too ill to pitch up in court.

  • jeetbahal - 2011-02-18 22:34

    Does a blue shirt make a Monkey a human?

      jack.rider14 - 2011-02-19 03:32

      Does a pink shirt make a gorilla human?

  • jeetbahal - 2011-02-18 22:35

    Does a blue shirt make a monkey a man?

      jack.rider14 - 2011-02-19 03:32

      Does a pink shirt make a gorilla human?

  • NARAD - 2011-02-18 22:36

    god this case just gets worse and worse

  • Lestor - 2011-02-18 22:51

    "The police in South Africa only hit in such a way that there are no marks, no evidence." Isn't that convenient.

      thulanikennetha38 - 2011-02-18 23:13

      Yes it is Lestor.

      Jacques - 2011-02-19 07:17

      No it is the truth.I Know.

      theoldmanofthemountains - 2011-02-19 07:53

      How do you know Jacques? C'mmon, out with it!

      mollma - 2011-02-19 08:01

      Is that even possible ?

      Frungy - 2011-02-19 08:19

      I worked with the South African police in a support role about 7 years ago and believe me, it is not only possible but also common gossip amongst the cops. I heard them discussing a variety of methods, from using a rolled telephone directory to the head (heavy and painful but it compresses across a large area when you strike so there are no marks), using garden hose on the soles of the feet (the strikes are painful and cause red marks which fade quickly and leave no long-term bruises), a plastic bag to suffocate the subject, a wet towel and a bucket of water to simulate drowning... the list of methods I heard was long and the methods discussed were so varied and unusual that I have no doubt that this is common practice. Of course when I asked the cops all denied it and said that these were just methods that were used in apartheid and that no cop would use them now... but the truth is that I strongly suspect that the cops still use them to get quick confessions. Just because the date changed and apartheid ended hasn't actually changed the police force one whit.

      Mike@CapeT - 2011-02-19 15:58

      @Frungy...the methods you are suggesting are common knowledge worldwide, not just SA! The fact is defence lawyers are hired to get their clients off the any means. Any story will do to sow doubt!

  • Muzdog27 - 2011-02-18 23:19

    How can u hit someone with a big torch "in a special way" so as to leave no bruising or marking... If the beating was severe enough to force confessions then it would have had to been a pretty hard beating that would have left marks...

  • KaiinSA - 2011-02-18 23:20

    funny how when all else fails including "oh oh i'm too ill to go to court" do they suddenly cry police brutality and they beat me up till I said what they wanted me to say. If this was true why wasn't it reported in Dec/Jan. I smell a rat n his name is Max Clifford.

  • john - 2011-02-18 23:20

    "Two suspects implicated in the murder of Anni Dewani claim that he was beaten..." That who was beaten? The standard of English on News24 gets worse and worse. If you mean "they", say "they". Two suspects can't be a "he".

      KaiinSA - 2011-02-18 23:24

      @News24 I'm English if you would like to pass all your articles through my office for a grammar and spell check (for a fee) then I'd be very willing to help. (recent example 62 people on a taxi)

      Pints - 2011-02-19 00:16

      Even the choice of words used in the article are laughable. "...too ill to pitch up in court." Is that really the best you can do?

      Ginseng - 2011-02-19 00:59

      Well we just have to live with it until another SA online news website begins to compete with News24. Until then we are stuck with appalling spelling and grammar and rehashed articles. Sometimes in honestly seems like they are getting school kids to write these articles...

  • jack.rider14 - 2011-02-19 03:31

    Does a pink shirt make a gorilla a human?

      giantplums - 2011-02-19 09:11

      Ar you insulting gorillas mr rider14!

  • annie.kalahari - 2011-02-19 05:48

    More than 566 people DIED in police custody in 2010 - so this is not a surprise. I'm sure their claims are entirely true.

      theoldmanofthemountains - 2011-02-19 08:00

      Only it's too convenient to speak up now, isn't it? The prime suspect is trying to avert extradition & claims (and that's all they are: unsubstantiated, unproven & unprovable after such a delay, claims) like these make his case in the British courts much stronger. The whole affair reeks of deceit at almost every turn. And the media love this kind of story - a real-life "soapie" for them to report on.

  • Hungwe - 2011-02-19 06:45

    Max Clifford has bought the lawyer off.

  • oompilot - 2011-02-19 07:38

    South Africans are fickle. We consistently moan about police corruption and incompetence. Now all of a sudden the are those amongst us that know no real facts about the case but know unequivocally that the police did a good and honest job. Make up your minds!!! When we get pulled over and questioned or need assistance in a robbery we hear of the incompetence. Now that the shoe's on the other foot we sing a the praises of a wonderful police force. No wonder the country is in the state it's in!

      Foreigner - 2011-02-19 12:32

      Of all the comments posted on this article this is by far the most insightful and intelligent of all. The rest? The usual ayoba rubbish!

  • RNP - 2011-02-19 08:33

    I agree with Hungwe. Max Clifford has bought the lawyer (s) off FOR ABSOLUTE SURE. If you think the police are corrupt in this country, imagine what a lawyer, representing the guys who committed the crime, can do. There is nobody more of a shark than a lawyer, black or white. Shrien is guilty as sin, and so are his associates. Anni's father himself said, that he is not sick at all and has seen him at restaurants, enjoying himself with friends. You dont go to a restaurant when you are stressed and too depressed to go to court, friends

  • Nico - 2011-02-19 08:44

    This is to the ones that complained about the spelling of words in this article and other. It is ONLY going to get worse as technology gets better. Todays kids are tomorrows ""leaders"". Todays ""leaders"" are the ""teachers"" of those kids. Todays kids (80%) are lazy, can't spell and don't give a damn. Thanks to their parents and their teachers and their ""leaders""!!!!!! It is such a same. It kills me.

  • Nico - 2011-02-19 08:51

    ....and no shirt colour will change one into a human. Once a monkey always a monkey..................

  • SYLVERSTAR - 2011-02-19 09:05

    Dewani is lying and hiding something. His PRO is doing a great job of dissemination - By the time we get Dewani here, he will probably be dead of old age.

  • sceptic - 2011-02-19 12:44

    uMM, What about the alleged text messages sent between the cellphones? does this not prove the fact that all parties involved are guilty?

      Dave - 2011-02-19 19:34

      Doesn't prove a damn thing sceptic! If the cops had an sms implicating Dewani do you really think they wouldn't have given the public just a little sniff at it. Let's face it, the only real evidence pointing to Dewani is the word of a convicted and sentenced self-confessed murderer. Please give us something concrete so we can ALL believe Dewani's guilt. Forget your gut feelings. they don't count in court.

  • Breathe - 2011-02-19 16:18

    Innocent until proved guilty I say, however we did hear that there was CCTV coverage of the two exchanging and envelope. Now that apparently wasn't beaten half to death with a torch. As for the poor use of English on News24... I'm relieved that this doesn't go unnoticed.

  • OzzieCPT - 2011-02-19 22:50


  • roswell - 2011-02-22 11:15

    police brutality is very real. recently a guy near my house was taken away by the police for slapping his girlfriend. The police politely asked her permission to beat the crap out of him. I've also heard stories about them picking up youngsters on suspicion of keeping drugs and suffocating them

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