S.Africa prosecutors welcome Dewani ruling
South African prosecutors on Friday welcomed a British court ruling on the extradition of businessman Shrien Dewani, even though the decision will further slow his honeymoon murder trial.
A British High Court halted his extradition on mental health grounds, after Dewani’s lawyers said he was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression and argued the 32-year-old’s life could be at risk if he were extradited.
The National Prosecuting Authority said it was pleased by the ruling that found “conditions in South African prisons would not violate Mr Dewani’s human rights and that it is in the interest of justice that Mr Dewani stand trial in South Africa as soon as he is fit to be tried”.
“It is also important to note that the Dewani defence team did not contend that he would not receive a fair trial in South Africa,” NPA spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said in a statement.
Prosecutors want Dewani to stand trial with two other men charged with killing his Swedish-born bride Anni while on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.
Three men were originally charged with her killing but the couple’s driver Zola Tongo turned state witness and pleaded guilty, receiving an 18-year prison sentence.
He claimed Dewani had ordered the car-jacking and paid him.
Two other accused, Xolile Mngeni and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, are currently in custody for their role in the crime.
High Court judges John Thomas and Duncan Ouseley said it would be “unjust and oppressive” to order the removal of Dewani, who is currently being treated in a mental health hospital in his hometown of Bristol, western England.
A British judge approved his extradition in August and Home Secretary Theresa May gave the green light the following month, but his lawyers appealed.