LONDON, (Reuters) – A British businessman accused of arranging for his wife to be murdered while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town can be extradited to face trial in South Africa, a court ruled yesterday.
However, the judge said the decision on whether to extradite Shrien Dewani, 31, who has denied conspiring to kill his wife, Anni, in a fake car-jacking last November, would need to be approved by Home Secretary Theresa May.
Anni Dewani, 28 and from Sweden, was shot when the taxi the couple were travelling in was hijacked in the Gugulethu township on the outskirts of Cape Town last November.
She was found dead in the back of an abandoned cab with a bullet wound to her neck after cabbie Zola Tongo drove the newlyweds to the township.
Dewani claims the vehicle was carjacked and that he and Tongo were forced out of the car unharmed before Mrs Dewani was driven away and killed.
However, Tongo turned state witness and, in return for a reduced sentence, alleged that Dewani paid for his wife to be killed.
Dewani has fought extradition proceedings, arguing that he is suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and is too unwell to be sent abroad for trial.
District Judge Howard Riddle gave the go-ahead for the extradition at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court but said the ruling had to be agreed by the Home Secretary.
“As the issues arising above have been decided adversely to the defendant, I must send this case to the Secretary of State for a decision whether the defendant is to be extradited,” his judgement said.
Dewani’s lawyers can also appeal against the decision to higher courts, meaning a final decision may be some months away.