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Cape Town - Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani could be back in South Africa within weeks. Prosecutors are discussing his return with his legal team after he decided not to continue his battle against extradition.
On Sunday the Justice Department said Dewani, 33, is expected to leave Britain on April 7 and touch down in South Africa on April 8 under plans being finalised with the British government.
"When he lands in South Africa, the National Prosecution Authority and the South African Police are going to call him to appear in Court, which is the Western Cape High Court," ministry spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga told AFP.
Dewani, 33, lost a crunch legal hearing in London’s High Court earlier this month when three judges ruled he should return to Cape Town to face trial for his alleged involvement in the killing of his bride Anni Hindocha, 28, in November 2010.
They blocked any further appeals in Britain, although Dewani could have approached the European Court of Human Rights.
Instead, his legal team are talking to Western Cape prosecutors about the mechanics of his return.
On Saturday Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions Rodney de Kock said: “We are in contact with Mr Dewani’s lawyers about his return to South Africa… Those discussions will continue next week, with Dewani possibly returning in the first or second week of April.”
De Kock has regularly flown between Cape Town and London over the past three years as Dewani battled extradition in various London courts.
His options narrowed after the latest defeat. Lawyers however warned that if he appealed to the European Court, the outcome was unlikely to be in his favour.
Dewani did not appear at the high court to hear the verdict, instead remaining in the Bristol hospital where he is remanded to receive treatment for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder – health reasons he used to try to avoid extradition.
South Africa wants Dewani to return to answer claims that he was involved in Anni’s death after a “hijacking” in Gugulethu.
Prosecutors allege he paid the hijackers who later shot and killed Anni in the back of their cab after Dewani had been ejected. He has always denied involvement.
On Saturday night, speaking from Sweden, Anni’s uncle, Ashok Hindocha, said the whole family was relieved the long extradition process appeared to be drawing to a close. “It does appear to be a case of when rather than if he will be returning to South Africa now. All we have ever wanted is answers to what happened and justice for Anni.
“We know who killed her but we don’t know why, so we hope he will get better and be able to answer those questions in court. This whole process has been prolonged by his defence team, which has been hard, but we got there in the end.
“We have had tremendous support throughout this from people from around the world and especially South Africa. I’d like to thank them and hope we can get justice for Anni,” he said.
Hindocha has accompanied his brother and Anni’s father, Vinod, and mother, Nilam, as they attended court hearings in relation to the case.
So far three men have been convicted in South Africa over Anni’s death, including their driver on the night, Zola Tongo, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
South African authorities have given a number of assurances to their British counterparts that Dewani will receive good physical and psychiatric care in South Africa. He is likely to be sent to Valkenberg Hospital, where he will have his own room and access to top psychiatrists.
South Africa has agreed that Dewani can return to the UK within 18 months of his arrival if he is not fit enough to stand trial.
Independent Foreign Service and AFP