Melania Trump Club

Monday, July 18, 2011

Shrien Dewani 'too ill to attend extradition hearing

British businessman wanted in South Africa over his bride's murder has been taking "strenuous exercise" despite being too ill to come to court, it has emerged.

Shrien Dewani is accused of ordering the killing of Anni Dewani in Cape Town during their honeymoon and is said to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

He was allowed to leave court less than 10 minutes into his resumed extradition hearing after his lawyer Clare Montgomery QC argued it was "positively inhuman" to keep him there.

But Hugo Keith QC, representing the South African authorities who want him to stand trial in the country, pointed out that the Bristol care home owner had been "carrying out strenuous exercise for hours on end".

This included skipping energetically, doing sit-ups and push-ups and using a gym, Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in south-east London heard.

Responding to criticisms made in the studies quoted by Ms Montgomery, he said: "Most of this is hearsay, it's not based on facts."

He admitted, however, that gang activity and sexual assault in prisons did exist and that jails struggled to cope with mental illness among inmates as they lacked financial resources.

"I realise we're not in the situation people are in in the USA or UK, where attention can be paid (to mental illness)", he said.

"We do have a problem but there are always psychiatrists available, willing and able to assist if it's established we have an inmate with a mental illness."

The newlyweds were being chauffeured through the dangerous township of Gugulethu when their taxi was hijacked on November 13.
Dewani was ejected while his wife was driven off and shot dead. Her body was found the next morning in the back of the abandoned cab.

Taxi driver Zola Tongo, who has admitted his part in the crime, claimed in a plea agreement with prosecutors that Dewani ordered the car-jacking and paid for a hit on his wife.

Dewani denies any wrongdoing and his lawyers have argued he may not be safe if held in a South African prison.

His supporters have also questioned whether he would receive a fair trial in the country.

Judge van Zyl began his evidence in May, broadly defending the penal system and claiming Dewani could be jailed in a prison resembling a five-star hotel if convicted.

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