Friday, March 30, 2012

#Dewani : The Independent - Shrien Dewani's extradition to South Africa on mental health grounds today.

The High Court temporarily halted British businessman Shrien Dewani's extradition to South Africa on mental health grounds today.
Two judges in London ruled that it would be "unjust and oppressive" to order the removal of Dewani, who is accused of arranging the contract killing of wife Anni in Cape Town in November 2010 during their honeymoon.

But the court said it was plainly in the interests of justice that he should be extradited "as soon as he is fit" to be tried.

Care home owner Dewani, from Bristol, strenuously denies any wrongdoing.

He has been diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and severe depression and his lawyers argue that his health and life will be at risk if he is extradited.

The Dewani family welcomed the ruling, saying: "Shrien can only return to South Africa when he is well enough and when his personal safety can be guaranteed."

Sir John Thomas, president of the Queen's Bench Division and Mr Justice Ouseley, allowed Dewani's appeal against immediate extradition and ordered that the case be remitted back to Westminster Magistrates Court for a further hearing.

The key factors the judges said they had taken into account included his unfitness to plead, increased prospects of a speedier recovery if he remains in the UK and "the lack of clear certainty" as to what would happen if he was returned to South Africa in his present condition.

The risk of suicide was also considered "to a much lesser degree".

Mrs Dewani, 28, from Sweden, was shot when a taxi the couple were travelling in was hijacked in the Gugulethu township on the outskirts of Cape Town.

She was found dead in the back of the abandoned vehicle with a bullet wound to her neck after taxi driver Zola Tongo drove the newlyweds to the impoverished area.

He and Mr Dewani were ejected by the hijackers before Mrs Dewani was driven away and shot.

Tongo, who has admitted his part in the crime, claimed in a plea agreement with prosecutors that Dewani ordered the carjacking and paid for a hit on his wife.

In their statement, the businessman's family said: "The Dewani family are grateful that the High Court has upheld the appeal and blocked any attempt to extradite Shrien to South Africa now.

"Shrien is innocent and is determined to return to South Africa to clear his name and seek justice for his wife Anni.

"The High Court has confirmed that extradition now would be 'unjust and oppressive'.
"The matter is still before the courts and so it would be inappropriate to comment further."


Source : The Independent