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The distraught family of murdered honeymoon bride Anni Dewani on Sunday night claimed they have been abandoned by the authorities investigating her killing.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Voice, Anni’s family say they are being ignored by South African and British legal teams involved in the case.
The 28-year-old’s uncle Ashok Hindocha spoke out ahead of the start of the murder trial, which is due to finally get underway in Cape Town at the end of this month.
Anni’s husband – murder accused Shrien Dewani, 32 – is currently staying in a private mental hospital in the UK while fighting his extradition to SA.
A frustrated Ashok said the family was being snubbed by British authorities who have failed to update them about progress in the extradition proceedings.
And he has lashed out at the SA authorities for failing to keep the family briefed about progress in the criminal trial involving the “hitmen” who were allegedly hired to kill his niece.
“As a family we feel helpless. We don’t have any control over the situation,” Ashok told the Daily Voice.
“Nothing has changed in the last few months. What has been happening with Shrien? We don’t know what is going on.
“He has been sitting in a mental hospital and we don’t know when he is going to stand trial. We need answers and only he can give it to us. “We are just hoping to get answers so that we can have closure.”
Anni was killed in a fake hijacking on November 13, 2010, allegedly orchestrated by her husband.
Her body was found slumped in the backseat of a hired taxi with a single bullet wound to her neck.
Dewani was implicated in the murder when taxi driver Zola Tonga entered into a plea deal with the State for his role in Anni’s killing.
Dewani is wanted in South Africa to face charges of murder, conspiracy to murder, robbery, kidnapping and interfering with the course of justice for his alleged role in her murder.
In March, Dewani’s extradition had to be postponed after doctors claimed he was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
But Anni’s family said it was time for a review of his mental condition so he can be extradited to South Africa.
“I haven’t heard anything from the prosecutors in South Africa or the United Kingdom regarding Shrien’s extradition hearing and when they will resume the process,” Ashok added.
“We are hoping there will be an inquiry into his health and mental condition so that we can move forward.”
He also said the family was frustrated by the court proceedings in Cape Town.
Ashok only learned through the Daily Voice that the trial against alleged hitmen Xolile Mngeni, 24, and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 25, will get underway in the Western Cape High Court on July 30.
“Nothing has been confirmed with us, we don’t know what will happen (when the ‘hitmen’ appear in court),” said Ashok.
“If we can be assured that the trial will start and that it will run, then we would definitely want to be there.”
*This article was published in the Daily Voice