Dewani's South Africa extradition approved by Home Secretary


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The Independent Online

The Home Secretary has approved the extradition of a man accused of arranging the murder of his wife on their honeymoon in South Africa

Shrien Dewani, 31, who denies any involvement in the death of his wife Anni, 28, has fought a 10-month battle to avoid being put on trial.

Theresa May's decision came after a ruling from Senior District Judge Howard Riddle at Belmarsh magistrates' court in London last month.

A British government spokesman said yesterday: "The Home Secretary, having carefully considered all relevant matters, has signed an order for Shrien Prakash Dewani's extradition to South Africa.

"Mr Dewani now has the opportunity, within 14 days, to appeal to the High Court against the decision of the District Judge and/or the Home Secretary."

Despite assertions by Mr Dewani's defence team that he was mentally unfit to stand trial and would face the risk of HIV infection in prison in South Africa, Judge Riddle said: "The court should not overlook [the family's] right to have the factual position determined as soon as is reasonable... Either Mr Dewani arranged for his new bride to be brutally murdered, or he has been the victim himself of the most terrible tragedy."

The couple, from Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, had been married for two weeks when they were held at gunpoint in November last year after taking a taxi through the township of Gugulethu.

Mr Dewani was released unharmed but Mrs Dewani's body was later found in the abandoned car

The South African authorities want Mr Dewani, a care home owner, extradited to faces charges of murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, conspiracy to commit murder and obstructing the administration of justice.

Taxi driver, Zola Tongo, 31, from Cape Town, has already been sentenced to 18 years in jail for murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and perverting the course of justice.

His lawyer, William da Grass, said yesterday: "This is very good news as it brings us one step closer to seeing a resolution to this dreadful case."

Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 25, and Xolile Mngeni, 23, are charged with murder, kidnapping and robbery with aggravating circumstances and will go on trial at the Western Cape High Court at a date to be set next year.