Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani faces extradition
- 24 July 2013
- From the section England
Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani will be extradited to South Africa to face trial over his wife's death.
Mr Dewani, 33, from Bristol, is accused of plotting to kill 28-year-old Anni Dewani, who was shot in the head on the outskirts of Cape Town in November 2010.
Mrs Dewani's sister said they were satisfied with the decision but added that their battle has "just begun".
In a statement, Mr Dewani's family said his lawyers would be lodging an appeal.
Mr Dewani's defence team had argued that he could suffer setbacks in his mental health if sent back to South Africa now, and that the decision should be delayed by six months.
But chief magistrate Howard Riddle ruled at Westminster Magistrates' Court that he should return to the country.
"It is not in question that Shrien Dewani will be returned to South Africa. The treating clinicians continue to state that Mr Dewani will recover," District Judge Riddle said.
"There has been recovery, but it has been slow. It may be a long time before Mr Dewani is fit to plead, but he may be closer to that point.
"It is not impossible that if returned now, then after a reasonable period of further treatment and assessment he will be found fit to plead and a trial can take place."
'Committed to returning'
Mr Dewani, a former businessman, has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression and is receiving treatment at a hospital near Bristol.
A spokesman for his family said lawyers would review the judgment and lodge an appeal, during which time Mr Dewani would remain in the UK.
"Shrien Dewani remains unfit to be extradited or to face trial," said the spokesman.
"Shrien remains committed to returning to South Africa when his health would permit a full trial and when appropriate protections are in place for his health and safety.
"The legal process is ongoing so it would be inappropriate to comment further."
The BBC's legal affairs correspondent Clive Coleman said Mr Dewani would have 14 days to appeal against the ruling.
He added: "In a long and complex judgement this morning Judge Riddle has decided that although Shrien Dewani remains unwell and, at the moment, unfit to plea, his mental health has improved to such an extent that it's now no longer either unjust or oppressive to allow him to be extradited back to South Africa."
In 2011, Judge Riddle ruled Mr Dewani should be extradited, but this was successfully appealed against.
Judges then ordered the chief magistrate to look at the case again.
The four-day hearing was attended by members of Mrs Dewani's family, who wore photographs of her pinned to their clothes, decorated with pink ribbons.
Speaking outside court following the decision, her older sister, Ami Denborg, said they were satisfied with the outcome.
"For us it is all about Anni, it's all about finding out what happened," she said.
"We will fight this battle to the end and this battle has just begun."
She added that they were hoping for a speedy recovery for Mr Dewani so he was fit to plead, and said the decision did not necessarily bring any relief.
"We just want to know what happened to Anni and this is one step," she said.
Mrs Dewani was travelling through the Gugulethu township in a taxi with her new husband when they were kidnapped at gunpoint.
Mr Dewani was released unharmed, but the next day the body of Mrs Dewani was found on the back seat of the car in Lingelethu West, with injuries to her head and chest.
Last year, South African Xolile Mngeni was convicted of premeditated murder for shooting Mrs Dewani.
Prosecutors claimed that he was a hitman hired by Mr Dewani to kill his wife, something that Mr Dewani has consistently denied.
The couple's taxi driver Zola Tongo was jailed for 18 years after he admitted his part in the killing, and another accomplice, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, also pleaded guilty to murder and was handed a 25-year prison sentence.