South Africa can extradite honeymoon hit suspect

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The Bristol businessman accused of arranging his wife’s murder on the couple’s honeymoon in 2010 has lost his appeal against extradition to South Africa.

Millionaire Shrien Dewani and his new Swedish-born bride Anni were travelling in a taxi in Gugulethu township, near Cape Town, when it was hijacked. Dewani and the taxi driver were ejected from the car before Anni was driven away and killed. The 28-year-old’s body was found in the back of the abandoned taxi with a bullet wound to the neck.

Zola Robert Tongo, the taxi driver was later convicted for his part in the plot and, in a plea bargain, implicated Dewani, who, he alleged, paid him R15,000 to arrange the murder. Tongo was sentenced to 18 years in jail in 2010. Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni, accomplices allegedly hired by Tongo, were convicted in 2012 of premeditated murder for shooting Mrs Dewani, receiving jail terms of 25 years and life, respectively.

Shrien Dewani has strenuously denied Tongo’s claim and has been fighting extradition on the grounds of ill-health caused by depression.

A judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court decided that it would not be “unjust or oppressive” to extradite the 33-year-old. Dewani’s lawyers now have 14 days to appeal against the order.

Dewani had been excused from appearing in court, having been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression and has been receiving treatment at a hospital near his home city. Doctors told the court that his risk of suicide is real but not immediate, and while he remains moderately depressed he is better than he was.

His lawyers have expressed concerns he would be a high suicide risk if he returned to the country, and his human rights could be breached because of the risk of violent and sexual assaults in jail.