Court halts Shrien Dewani extradition to South Africa in 'honeymoon murder' case


Shrien Dewani arrives at Belmarsh Magistrates Court on February 24, 2011 in London, England. Britain's High Court on March 30, 2012 temporarily halted Dewani's extradition to South Africa, where authorities want him to stand trial for allegedly hiring a hit-man to kill his bride Anni on their honeymoon.


Peter Macdiarmid

JOHANNESBURG — The extradition of Shrien Dewani, a British man accused of arranging his wife's murder while on honeymoon in South Africa, has been temporarily halted.

Britain's High Court ruled today that Dewani, 32, should not be extradited until his mental health condition improves. He has been diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression.

Two High Court judges ruled it would be "unjust and oppressive" to order Dewani's extradition, but that he should be sent to South Africa "as soon as he is fit" to be tried, the BBC reported.

Dewani, whose wealthy family owns old-age care homes in the UK, is suspected of plotting the murder of his new bride, Anni, in a staged carjacking while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010.

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The extradition order had been granted by a judge in August, and backed by Home Secretary Theresa May.

In a statement outside the courthouse today, Anni Dewani's sister Ami Denborg said the family "just want him [Dewani] to get better now so he can finally go to South Africa and tell us what happened," the BBC reported.

"We just want to know the truth because it is all about our dearest little sister who was murdered," she added.

Dewani's family welcomed the decision to temporarily halt his extradition, Agence France-Presse reported.

"Shrien is innocent and is determined to return to South Africa to clear his name and seek justice for his wife Anni," his family said in a statement.

Anni Dewani, 28, was shot dead in November 2010 in an apparent carjacking in the impoverished, crime-ridden Gugulethu township near Cape Town.

Taxi driver Zola Tongo, who claimed in a plea bargain that Dewani had offered him 15,000 South African rand (about $2,200) to arrange Anni's murder, is already serving an 18-year jail sentence.

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