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Honeymoon murder suspect to be extradited to S. Africa in April

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian, CNN
updated 1:04 PM EDT, Sun March 23, 2014
Shrien Dewani is accused of hiring hitmen to kill his wife while the couple were on honeymoon in South Africa.
Shrien Dewani is accused of hiring hitmen to kill his wife while the couple were on honeymoon in South Africa.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • South Africa official says Shrien Dewani to leave UK next month
  • South Africa justice department liaising with British Home Office, spokesman says
  • Dewani lost a High Court appeal to block his extradition in January
  • His wife, Anni Dewani, was killed in Cape Town in November 2010

(CNN) -- A British man accused of orchestrating his wife's murder by hit men while they were honeymooning will be extradited to South Africa next month, a South African justice department spokesman said Sunday.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is liaising with Britain's Office of the Home Secretary to facilitate the extradition of Shrien Dewani, 33, he said.

"We are now close to finalizing the process. We expect him to leave London on 7th April and to land in South Africa on 8th April," justice department spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga told South African news network eNCA.

Dewani has been fighting a return to South Africa to face the charges, which he denies, over the death of his wife Anni, 28, in November 2010 in Cape Town.

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In January, he lost a High Court appeal to block his extradition until he is fit to stand trial. He is being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder and a depressive illness.

The judges ruled Dewani can be extradited as long as the South African government pledges to return him to the United Kingdom should he ultimately prove unfit to be tried. His lawyers had argued that he should not be extradited while he was unfit to stand trial.

Taxi ride

Dewani is accused of hiring a crew of hit men to kill his wife during a taxi ride in Cape Town in November 2010, just over two weeks after their wedding.

Taxi driver Zola Tongo confessed within weeks of the bride's death that he had hired two men to kill her.

In a plea deal with South African authorities, he said he was paid by Dewani to carry out the hit and to make it look as though the two were the victims of a carjacking as they were driving through a township on the edge of Cape Town. Tongo was subsequently sentenced to 18 years in prison for his part in the killing.

In their ruling, the judges at the High Court in London said there was some prospect that Dewani could recover sufficiently to be fit to stand trial. It is also possible that the continued uncertainty over his extradition could act to deter his recovery.

They also said they were confident in the ability of South Africa's authorities to treat Dewani fairly.

The businessman, from Bristol in southwest England, has said his wife was the victim of a carjacking and denies any involvement in the killing.

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