Anni’s family welcome extradition ruling

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IOL dewani afp jan 31 AFP Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani

London - British honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani lost a High Court bid on Friday to block his extradition to South Africa until he is fit to stand trial.

Lawyers for Dewani, who has post-traumatic stress disorder, argued that he should not be sent there until he is fit to plead over the murder of his Swedish wife Anni in a township outside Cape Town in November 2010.

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 spokeswoman for the National Prosecuting Authority 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 has been fighting extradition from Britain to face proceedings over his wife's death until he has recovered from mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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 carjacked.

Dewani denies any involvement in the killing.

Anni Dewani's family, who were present in the High 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 any more.”

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

A South African man, Xolile Mngeni, was jailed for life for the murder last December. Two other local men jailed over the killing allege that Dewani ordered the hit.

AFP



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