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London - ‘I am the mother of a murdered daughter, how long do I have to wait? It’s nearly three years since she was killed and we’ve kept our dignity and respect throughout. I was brought up to believe British justice is the best in the world, so it’s very hard for us to understand why we are still here now.”
These were the anguished words of Nilam Hindocha, mother of murdered bride Anni Dewani, after murder accused Shrien Dewani, 33, won another legal bid to halt his extradition to South Africa.
Nilam has, up until now, been silent on the death of her daughter. But on Tuesday she and her family vented their frustrations.
Three judges ruled that the case should be re-opened despite two previous rulings that Dewani be returned to answer accusations that he orchestrated her murder.
Dewani is fighting extradition to South Africa to face trial over his wife Anni’s death until he has recovered from mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
His lawyers have stressed at various hearings that he will be willing to defend himself at trial once he is fit to do so.
Standing on the steps of the high court in London, the Hindocha family said they that were frustrated by the delays to Dewani’s extradition.
Ami Denborg, Anni’s sister, standing alongside her mother, father Vinod and brother Anish, said: “We’ve been here waiting patiently for three years and now there is another delay in this case.
“We don’t really understand why there are all these delays and we really want this case to move forward. We come from Sweden, and every time there is a case hearing, we come here. We hope that next time will be the final time we are coming to the British courts.”
She added: “It will be three years (next month) since my sister died and we’ve not come anywhere near an end. It is really hard.
“If someone would have told me three years ago this would take three years I would have said no, maybe six months.”
Inside the court, Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas said the case against Dewani must be reviewed to see whether an “accused person” suffering from an acute illness could be returned under the Extradition Act.
He also said the court must determine whether it was “unjust and oppressive” to return him, irrespective of his illness.
South African authorities want Dewani to return to Cape Town over claims he hired three men to kill Anni, 28, in November 2010.
She was found shot dead in the back of their taxi after it was supposedly hijacked in Gugulethu. Dewani denies any involvement in her death.
He did not attend on Tuesday’s hearing and is sectioned in a psychiatric hospital in his home city of Bristol.
His family were at the court but declined to comment. Their lawyers have consistently argued that, he is not well enough to return but when he was well enough, Dewani would go back and fight the allegations.
In July at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle ruled for a second time that Dewani was fit enough to return to Cape Town where he would be treated at Valkenberg Hospital ahead of a potential trial.
Although it was acknowledged that he was still suffering from depression and PTSD, Riddle said the level of care would be adequate for the murder suspect as part of his recovery programme.
Dewani’s lawyer Clare Montgomery said on Tuesday if he was extradited and then remanded into care, he could effectively remain in custody indefinitely.
The panel of three judges rejected a request on Tuesday by Dewani’s lawyers for the July decision to be subject to a judicial review. Lord Thomas gave no date for the new appeal hearing at the high court but said the “sooner this issue is resolved the better”.
However the new hearing could lead to further appeals possibly to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.