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15 Dec 2011 06:36
Shrien Dewani would be properly cared for and protected if he were extradited to face trial over the murder of his wife during their honeymoon, the South African government has insisted.
The British businessman is appealing against a decision that he should be sent to Cape Town, where he is accused of arranging the killing of his wife Anni.
Lawyers for Dewani, who is suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, are arguing in the high court in London that he is too ill to be returned. They say his condition would worsen in South Africa because psychiatric care in prisons and secure hospitals is so poor.
Dewani’s team also claims he would be the target of gang violence while in custody.
But Hugo Keith QC for the South African government argued the decision to extradite should stand.
He said it was possible, even probable, that Dewani’s condition would improve enough for him to face trial.
Keith pointed out that in September Dewani’s psychiatrist had suggested that he could move out of the medium secure unit in Bristol where he was being held after being sectioned and return home.
He said the fact that his condition had improved, albeit briefly, showed that in the future he could be fit enough to stand trial.
While conceding care may not be the same quality as in the UK, Keith said “sufficient treatment” would be available in South Africa.
Responding to claims that Dewani would be a target for violence when he was in communal areas of prisons, Keith said he would be supervised.
Dewani, from Bristol, is accused of arranging a fake hijacking in November last year during which Anni (28) was shot dead. He strongly denies any involvement.
The hearing will resume on Friday when psychiatric evidence will be heard.—
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