Dewani takes fight for extradition to UK high court

Lawyers for murder accused Shrien Dewani will seek to stop his extradition to South Africa in the high court in Britain on Monday, the South African justice department said on Thursday.

Spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said Dewani's lawyers wanted the court to disregard South Africa's undertaking of how long Dewani would be kept in the country without trial if he continued to suffer mental health problems.

"They [Dewani's lawyers] have asked the court not to accept our undertaking … but have requested an application to appeal the matter before the UK Supreme Court," Mhaga said.

Lawyers representing the South African justice department were likely to oppose the application.

"If his application is dismissed, Dewani's last legal avenue is an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France," Mhaga said.

The justice department respected the court process and was confident Dewani would eventually appear before South Africa's courts, said Mhaga.

Detained in hospital
Dewani (33), from Bristol, would face charges related to the murder of his wife, Anni. Dewani has claimed the couple were kidnapped at gunpoint as they drove through Gugulethu township in Cape Town in a taxi in November 2010. Dewani states he was released unharmed. They were on their honeymoon at the time. The next day his wife's body was found in the abandoned car. She had been shot dead.

Xolile Mngeni was convicted of the murder and jailed for life. Prosecutors allege Dewani hired him to kill his wife. Taxi driver Zola Tongo was jailed for 18 years after he admitted his part in the killing. Another accomplice, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, pleaded guilty to murder and received a 25-year prison sentence.

Dewani, who is being detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act, has denied any part in the murder. – Sapa

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