Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Dewani extradited to South Africa

Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani is due to be extradited to South Africa today

Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani has been extradited from the UK to South Africa where he is due to stand trial.

The millionaire businessman was flown from Bristol Airport tonight after a protracted legal battle against extradition on the grounds that he has mental health problems.

His wife Anni Dewani, 28, died when she was shot in the neck as the couple travelled in a taxi on the outskirts of Cape Town in November 2010.

Scotland Yard said Dewani was taken from Fromeside Hospital in Bristol to the airport accompanied by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Extradition Unit.

Officers were met at the airport by representatives from the South African authorities who have escorted him on the flight to South Africa.

Earlier, relatives of Mrs Dewani said they "need justice" as they spoke to journalists at a press conference in London.

Her uncle, Ashok Hindocha, said: "From today and onwards this case will be about Anni. Until now it hasn't been about what really happened to her.

"The justice system is the way it is. Obviously we were extremely surprised that it took such a long time.

"There is one nation, one powerful nation called the United Kingdom, that has a treaty with South Africa. That treaty was challenged, so we are happy that it went through. Unfortunately it took a long time."

During the press conference, Mr Hindocha and Mrs Dewani's brother Anish wore photographs of her, decorated with pink ribbons, pinned to their lapels.

Anish Hindocha said: "It's been very difficult. There is no life in our family any more, we struggle. With the help of the South African people, with the help of the British people, we are at least trying to cope.

"We need justice for Anni. That's the only thing in our minds, and we will hopefully get it soon."

Three men have been convicted and jailed over Mrs Dewani's death, including taxi driver Zola Tongo, who was given 18 years after admitting his role in the killing.

Xolile Mngeni, who prosecutors claim was the hitman, was convicted of premeditated murder over the shooting, and another accomplice, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, pleaded guilty to murder and was handed a 25-year prison sentence.

Dewani's lawyers argued that he should not be forced from the UK to face trial until he had recovered from mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

But last month judges at the High Court rejected all his grounds for appeal against removal and denied him the chance to take the case to the Supreme Court.

They agreed with the South African authorities that if Dewani was not fit to stand trial within 18 months, he would be returned to the UK.

Ashok Hindocha said that Dewani, a 34-year-old care home owner, has "a lot of questions to answer".

He went on: "We are confident that there is going to be some kind of court case. We need it, South Africa needs it, the world needs it. There are too many people following this case. I presume everybody wants to know what happened to Anni. It's simple, why did she die?"

Anish Hindocha said that people had come up to him in the street in South Africa crying and apologising that his sister had died in the country.

He added: "Everyone is seeking justice for her. Anni has become a global daughter for the whole world."

When asked how Mrs Dewani's parents were, an emotional Anish Hindocha said: "I have trouble sleeping, and I know my dad has trouble sleeping.

"I call him at 3am, 4am and I know he's awake, he can't sleep. It's very difficult for him and I try to be strong for him."

He said he cannot look at pictures of his sister, and that the family has not been able to start grieving properly.

"We are struggling every day, my dad, my mum, all of us. We need the closure on this case in order for us to start the grieving process for Anni.

"Because at the moment I am not able to look at any pictures of Anni, there is just too much focus on the case at the moment to get justice. She needs to rest in peace before we can start the grieving process."

Ashok Hindocha said the delay had been "very heavy" for the family, who have not seen Dewani since his niece's funeral.

He added: "At the beginning, we thought this was a very simple case. That was until Shrien became a suspect.

"Five people were in that car - four men and one woman. Three of the men are in jail, one girl was shot in the neck. One person hasn't answered the questions about what happened in the car."

The South African Department of Justice said Dewani will be taken straight to court after he lands tomorrow and is expected to appear at Western Cape High Court at 11.30am, where he will be formally charged.

He will be accompanied by a doctor, nurse and police officers during the journey, because he is "a patient and suspect who is in police custody".

Journalists will be allowed to film inside the courtroom but all cameras will have to be switched off as soon as the judge enters the room.

It is understood that if he is found fit to do so, Dewani could stand trial in September.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We can confirm that Shrien Dewani was extradited on Monday 7 April from the UK to South Africa."

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