S.African prosecutors apply for honeymoon murder extradition

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South African prosecutors launched an application Wednesday to extradite a British businessman accused of hiring hitmen to murder his wife during their honeymoon in Cape Town, officials said.

The application advances an extradition process begun earlier this month when 30-year-old Shrien Dewani was arrested in Britain after South African police declared him a wanted man in connection with the murder of his 28-year-old wife, Anni.

South African justice ministry spokesman Tlali Tlali said the national prosecutor's office has formally applied for Dewani to be brought to South Africa to stand trial "for complicity in his wife's murder".

Justice officials will forward the application to Britain by January 6, setting up an extradition hearing, Tlali told AFP.

Anni Dewani was shot and killed on November 13 during a reported carjacking on the outskirts of Cape Town.

One man who confessed to involvement in the killing has turned state's witness and implicated the victim's husband in plotting to kill her.

Zola Tongo, the driver of the car in which the young bride was travelling, said he was paid 1,500 rand (220 dollars, 170 euros) for his role in the murder. He was sentenced to 18 years in jail.

Dewani, who returned to Britain with his wife's body days after the killing, was later arrested in Bristol, south of London. He was released on bail pending an extradition hearing and denies any involvement in his wife's death.

The businessman's publicist Max Clifford has suggested that Dewani would fight extradition to South Africa, fearing unfair treatment by the justice system.

© 2010 AFP

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