Shrien Dewani is next
A convicted rapist was successfully extradited to South Africa yesterday - six days before government lawyers begin their legal bid to get Shrien Dewani into a Cape Town court.
Yesterday Hawks divisional commander General Godfrey Lebeya was at OR Tambo airport to ensure fugitive Hans Joachim Klaar, 47, was returned to KwaZulu-Natal to start serving his six-year jail sentence for raping a Pietermaritzburg woman in 1996.
Dewani, fingered by a state witness for orchestrating the murder of his new wife, Anni, 28, in a staged hijacking in Gugulethu, Cape Town on November 13, has ignored all appeals to return to South Africa to assist police.
Instead he has hired British PR expert Max Clifford to mount a public defence claiming he will not get a fair trial in South Africa.
Dewani is currently on bail and living under curfew at his Passage Road home in Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol. He has repeatedly denied the allegations, and his family and lawyers have branded the case against him “flawed and flimsy”.
Yesterday Britain’s Evening Post reported that friends of Dewani claimed a fair trial was impossible. “They fear the care home owner could be killed if he is put in a South African prison to await a trial, and say the accusations are ... a conspiracy to protect the country’s tourism industry.”
Yesterday police spokesman Colonel McIntosh Polela said Dewani could expect the same treatment as Klaar.
“Klaar tried to claim he shouldn’t be extradited on humanitarian grounds, citing the state of our prisons. Dewani has been claiming he won’t get a fair trial.
“We’ve seen through that. Instead of shutting up and following the process, Mr Dewani has, from his side, decided to defend his case from thousands of miles away, using PR to try to clear his name instead of coming here to do so in court.
“He’s taken titbits of the case and is trying the case through the media, besmirching South Africa’s reputation in the process.
He’s trying to divert attention from the fact that a young woman died and a family is grieving.
“It doesn’t matter how long it takes, in the end we’ll have Mr Dewani coming through O R Tambo to the full glare of cameras and then he will go to Cape Town to face the music.
“There’ll just be him in the witness stand and his lawyer in the court and then we’ll debate the facts and not the circus.”
Veteran South African detective Lieutenant Colonel Mike Barkhuizen, 53, an expert on contract murders, is in London working with Scotland Yard detectives and British justice officials preparing for Dewani’s extradition hearing on Thursday.
Barkhuizen, known by some colleagues as a “bull terrier”, has 33 years’ experience and a high success rate.
Investigations in which he has been involved include the Dina Rodrigues case, the Taliep Petersen murder, the Marike de Klerk killing and the Sizzlers massacre.
He was also involved in the hunt for the Station Strangler and investigations into several bombings in Cape Town.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Tlali Tlali said: “There are leads that must be followed in the UK in order to complete the puzzle. We need to make sure the case is watertight.”
Polela said: “We are confident we have assembled the best team, which includes Barkhuizen, and we have absolute confidence that they will return with Dewani.”
Yesterday dressed in jeans and brown T-shirt emblazoned with the words “United As One”, and handcuffed, Klaar walked through the O R Tambo International arrivals hall under heavy police guard before being transported to KZN.
He was arrested on December 14, 2009 after New Zealand authorities intercepted Klaar when he entered Opua, Northland on board his yacht, ending 11 years on the run.
After his arrest, South African authorities applied for his extradition which Klaar tried to oppose on humanitarian grounds. When he lost the appeal, members of the SAP fugitive unit were sent over to escort him back.
Lebeya said Klaar was likely to face another charge of contempt of court for failing to present himself to the authorities after he lost his appeal.
The police would also look at other possible charges involving his businesses
Lebeya said the arrest and successful extradition of Klaar would send a clear message to criminals that the world was getting smaller.
“We hope it will send a strong message to those who opt for a life on the run instead of facing the consequences of their actions - that no matter how long it takes, the tentacles of justice will eventually catch up with them,” he warned.
“This is a victory for us because it goes to show that there is co-operation between different countries and that there is no place in the world to hide.” - Saturday Star