Wednesday, September 28, 2011

#Dewani :Honeymoon murder: Shrien Dewani extradition ordered - but victim’s family left in suspense

The Home Secretary Theresa May has formally ordered the businessman Shrien Dewani to be extradited to South Africa accused of his wife’s murder on honeymoon - but more delays are likely as he was given two weeks to appeal.

Honeymoon murder: Shrien Dewani extradition ordered  - but victim’s family left in suspense
Shrien Dewani, left, is to be extradited to South Africa where he's accused of his murdering his wife, Anni Dewani Photo: AP
Last night the family of Mr Dewani’s murdered bride, Anni Hindocha, issued an impassioned plea to him not to launch an 11th hour legal challenge so that they could finally receive “closure”.
They urged him not to delay the process further “for the sake of everybody’s health”.
But the 31-year-old, who has indicated in the past that he would launch an appeal, refused to say either way.
Even Max Clifford, who has acted as his spokesman, was left in the dark about Mr Dewani’s intentions after being ordered not to comment by his family.
Mr Dewani, a care home boss from Bristol, is accused of hiring two hitmen to kill his wife in a staged carjacking in Cape Town in November last year.

The couple were spending a few days in the city, following a lavish wedding ceremony in India, when the car in which they were travelling was stopped by two armed men in a notorious township.
Mr Dewani and his taxi driver, Zola Tongo, were both released unhurt but his bride was abducted and found dead in the back of the car.

Tongo later publicly pointed the finger at him in a plea bargain, claiming he had been paid to hire the hitmen for him.

Mr Dewani strenuously denies the claims but his lawyers opposed extradition on human rights grounds arguing that he would not receive proper treatment for severe post traumatic stress disorder.

District Judge Howard Riddle, the chief magistrate, approved the extradition last month following a lengthy legal process.

Yesterday, after reviewing the ruling, Mrs May formally signed the extradition order. But he receives an automatic 14-day delay, potentially allowing his lawyers to prepare an appeal to the High Court.

The period could also enable him to attempt to take his case to Europe in a last ditch move to avoid extradition.

Last night Anni’s uncle Ashok Hindocha, who is currently in London, welcomed Mrs May’s decision but urged Mr Dewani not to delay the process any longer.

“We are extremely pleased that this case is going forward now, I just hope that we get closure as soon as possible,” he said.

“I beg Shrien not to [lodge an appeal] for the sake of everybody’s health.”

The murdered bride’s father Vinod and mother Nilam have both seen their own health deteriorate in recent months amid uncertainty about their daughter’s death.

Tonga’s lawyer, William da Grass, said Mrs May’s decision would be welcomed in South Africa and said it was now “one step closer to seeing a resolution to this dreadful case”.

Mr Clifford said: “I’ve been told from the family no comment at all, which is something that I disagree with but they are following the advice of their lawyers.

“I personally am totally convinced that they basically have no chance of a fair trial if they go back to South Africa.”