Honeymoon murder suspect extradited to S.Africa: police

7th April 2014, Comments 0 comments

British businessman Shrien Dewani was on Monday finally extradited to stand trial for allegedly murdering his wife during a staged car-jacking on their 2010 honeymoon in South Africa, police announced.

Officers from Britain's Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Extradition Unit took Dewani, 34, from Fromeside Hospital in south west England, where he has been receiving treatment for reported mental health problems, to nearby Bristol Airport.

There he was handed over to representatives from the South African authorities, who escorted him onto a plane that took off at around 8.00 pm local time (2100 GMT), according to a Scotland Yard statement.

Dewani denies ordering the killing of his 28-year-old Swedish bride Anni in Cape Town in November 2010, and has been fighting extradition from Britain ever since.

He claimed he had mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress, and was detained under mental health legislation.

But a British court ruled last month that after numerous legal challenges, he could be sent to South Africa.

Dewani is due to land in Cape Town on Tuesday morning, where he will be taken directly to the Western Cape High Court to be formally charged.

He will be accompanied on the flight by a doctor, a nurse and police officers, the South African justice ministry said, given that he is "currently a patient and suspect who is in police custody and may need medical assistance en-route".

Dewani claimed he and his bride were kidnapped at gunpoint as they drove through the Gugulethu township near Cape Town in a taxi.

South African Xolile Mngeni was jailed for life for the murder in December 2012. Two other men jailed over the killing allege that Dewani ordered the hit.

Anish Hindocha, Anni's brother, said the delay in extraditing Dewani had been "very frustrating" but expressed hope that he would finally see justice for his sister.

"It has been very difficult for my family," Hindocha told ITV television, wearing a photograph of Anni pinned to his jacket with a pink ribbon around it.

"We are just focusing on this case at the moment and it is hard to even start to make the grieving process for Anni yet because there are so many questions we need answers to.

"It has been a nightmare. I can't sleep at night, I can't even work -- the only focus I have is getting justice for her.

"We hope we get it. Now, today, he is getting extradited and that is one step closer towards what we are seeking for her, that is justice for her."

After the court hearing, scheduled for 11:30 am (0930 GMT) on Tuesday, Dewani is expected to be taken to the high-security Valkenberg psychiatric hospital in Cape Town, where he will stay until his fate is decided.

Members of Anni Dewani's family are planning to attend the trial. Hindocha said supporters had offered them free accommodation in South Africa.

"People are being very, very supportive," he said.


© 2014 AFP

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