Shortly after being extradited from the UK in connection with the killing of his wife during their honeymoon, Indian—origin businessman Shrien Dewani was today produced before a South African court and charged with her murder.
After being flown by a chartered flight to Cape Town, Dewani, 34, was escorted straight away to the Western Cape High Court, where he was formally charged with the murder of his Indo—Swedish wife Anni in 2010 during their honeymoon.
According to Mthunzi Mhaga, spokesperson of the Department of Justice, Dewani has been charged with murder and will also face charges relating to conspiracy to commit the murder and defeating the ends of justice.
Mhaga said the private aircraft was used to transport Dewani due to his peculiar medical condition, which needs to be monitored as travelling on a commercial flight could have compromised his security and adversely affected his pending medical examination, state—run news portal sanews.gov.za reported.
Dewani was put on the flight to Cape Town from London’s Heathrow Airport yesterday to face charges for ordering the contract killing of his 28—year—old wife, which he denies in a case that has sparked international headlines.
He was taken from Fromeside Hospital in the British city of Bristol, to the airport by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service Extradition Unit. They were met there by officials from the South African authorities who escorted him to the flight.
Dewani was originally arrested by officers from the extradition unit on December 7, 2010 at the request of the South African authorities.
His extradition comes after three years of a protracted legal battle to keep the Bristol—based businessman in the UK.
Dewani’s lawyers had argued that he should not be forced from the UK to face trial until he recovers from mental health problems, including depression and post—traumatic stress disorder.
But in March, judges at the High Court in London rejected all his grounds for appeal against his removal from the UK and denied him the chance to take the case to the Supreme Court.
It is expected that Dewani will be treated at Valkenberg hospital in South Africa while awaiting trial, where security has reportedly been beefed up in anticipation of his arrival.
His initial assessment will be for 30 days but an agreement between British and South African authorities will see the businessman returned to the UK in 18 months if deemed unfit to stand trial.