Dewani ordered to stand trial in South Africa


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The Independent Online

The Bristol businessman Shrien Dewani will be sent to South Africa to stand trial on charges of murdering his bride unless he overturns an extradition ruling from the Home Secretary.

The 31-year-old widower, who has always insisted he was an innocent victim suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, has fought a 10-month battle to avoid being put on trial for arranging the killing of his bride, Anni, during their honeymoon in Cape Town.

Yesterday a British government spokesman said: "On Monday, 26 September, the Home Secretary, having carefully considered all relevant matters, 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."

Theresa May's decision came after a ruling from Senior District Judge Howard Riddle at Belmarsh magistrates' court in south-east London last month. Despite assertions by Mr Dewani's defence team that he was mentally unfit to stand trial and would face violent sexual assault and the risk of HIV infection in prison, 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."

Mr Dewani bears little resemblance to his wedding pictures with Anni, 28. The couple, from Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, had been married just two weeks when they were held at gunpoint on the night of 13 November after taking a taxi through the township of Gugulethu.

The driver, Zola Tongo, and groom were forced from the car unharmed. Mrs Dewani's body was found the next day in the abandoned car with a single bullet wound to the neck.

The South African authorities want him extradited to stand trial for murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, conspiracy to commit murder and obstructing the administration of justice.