British Government Approves Extradition in South Africa Honeymoon Murder Case

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Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

Shrien Dewani leaves Belmarsh Magistrates Court on March 15, 2011 in London, England

British Home Secretary Theresa May approved the extradition of a British businessman to return to South Africa to stand trial for his wife’s murder on their honeymoon last year.

Shrien Dewani, 31, is accused of hiring hit men to kill his 28-year-old bride, Anni Dewani, who was shot and killed last November when the couple’s taxi was hijacked in the Gugulethu township in South Africa, the BBC reports. Dewani, who denies involvement in the murder, was released unharmed during the hijacking, but his bride’s body was later found in the abandoned car.

(MORE: South Africa’s Honeymoon Murder: Was the Husband Involved?)

In August, a district judge ruled in favor of sending Dewani back to South Africa to go on trial for murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and obstructing the administration of justice. Though British courts allow arguments and a ruling in extradition cases, ultimately it’s May, the top law enforcement minister, who approves the decision.

The two gunmen, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 25, and Xolile Mngeni, 23, are set to go on trial next year, but the taxi driver confessed to the Western Cape High Court in South Africa that Dewani offered him about $2,100 to kill his wife, according to the Associated Press. The driver, Zola Tongo, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison and is expected to testify against Dewani as part of a plea bargain.

“Mr. Dewani now has the opportunity, within 14 days to appeal to the High Court against the decision of the district judge and/or the home secretary,” a Home Office spokesperson said.

Anni Dewani’s family submitted a petition with over 11,000 signatures asking for approval of the extradition. The victim’s uncle told the BBC the family was happy with the latest decision.

MORE: A Brief History of Extraditions