In Depth

Shrien Dewani: new extradition hearing over Anni murder

Fresh call for Briton accused of killing his wife on honeymoon to be sent to South Africa

Shrien Dewani

SHRIEN DEWANI, the British man accused of plotting the murder of his wife Anni during their honeymoon in South Africa three years ago, is once again facing the prospect of being extradited to South Africa to face trial over her death.

A five-day hearing at Westminster Magistrates court began on Monday. It is the latest in a string of court hearings involving Dewani, who has been suffering depression and post-traumatic stress disorder following the killing of his Swedish-born wife in November 2010 in an alleged carjacking that he is accused of arranging.

Dewani was initially ordered to be extradited in August 2011 but the following March the High Court in London ruled it would be "unjust and oppressive" to send him to South Africa until he had overcome his mental health problems.

This week's case aims to decide if he is now fit to return to South Africa.

Although Dewani is still being treated at a hospital in his home city of Bristol and is not attending the hearing, the South African government believes that his condition has now improved enough for him to be extradited, although it accepts that he is not yet fit to stand trial.

Hugo Keith QC argued that Dewani was "no longer making active references to the possibility of self-harm or suicide" and insisted South Africa had pulled out the stops to offer him the necessary care if its request was granted.

He also suggested that the threat of extradition was holding back Dewani's recovery and that sending him to South Africa could help him in the long run.

The Sun says the court was told how Dewani "sits in a camper van for hours each day . . . in the grounds of the hospital where he is being treated for depression". Sky News reports that psychiatrist Dr Alan Cumming admitted Dewani was "overcome by hopelessness and despair" after the murder of his wife.

But Cumming, giving evidence for the South African government, said today that although extradition would increase Dewani's suicide risk in the short term, his condition would improve after a "spike". He insisted his health could be managed as well in South Africa as in the UK.

He added that it was not inevitable that Dewani would remain unfit to plead for ever.

Tweeting from the court, journalist Natalie Feary said Cumming backed the idea that extradition could help Dewani. "Sometimes longer you leave things, worse they get," she summarised him as saying.

Dewani is accused of arranging for his wife to be shot in what was supposed to look like a carjacking in Cape Town. Three South Africans have been jailed over the 2010 attack.

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