UK gov't orders extradition over honeymoon killing

September 28, 2011 - 11:25 AM
Britain South Africa Tourist Killed

FILE - This is a Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011 file photo of Shrien Dewani, the British man accused of having his wife murdered during their honeymoon in South Africa, as he arrives at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in London. The Home Office, Britain's interior ministry, said Wednesday Sept. 28, 2011 that Home Secretary Theresa May had approved a request to extradite 31-year-old Shrien Dewani to South Africa following a court ruling last month. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

LONDON (AP) — Britain's government said Wednesday that a suspect accused of hiring a hit man to kill his wife on their honeymoon in South Africa should be extradited there to face trial.

Home Secretary Theresa May approved the extradition of 31-year-old Shrien Dewani following a court ruling last month.

Dewani, a British businessman, is alleged to have paid others to arrange and carry out the murder of his 28-year-old wife, Anni, who was found shot dead in an abandoned taxi in Cape Town's deprived Gugulethu township in November.

The couple, both of Indian descent, had married in India two weeks before arriving in South Africa.

May signed an order for the extradition after she "carefully considered all relevant matters," the Home Office said in a statement.

Dewani, who denies any involvement in his wife's death, has 14 days to appeal the decision.

Though British courts hear arguments in extradition cases and issue a ruling, it is the government's top law enforcement minister who must give final approval.

Last month, Judge Howard Riddle advised following lengthy court hearings that Dewani should go to South Africa to face the allegations against him.

Dewani claims that the couple's vehicle was attacked by gunmen during a township tour.

However, taxi driver Zola Tongo alleged in a confession last year that Dewani had offered him 15,000 rand (about $2,100) to arrange the murder and make it appear like a carjacking.

Tongo has been convicted in South Africa of kidnapping, murder, aggravated robbery and obstructing justice, and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. He is expected to testify against Dewani as part of a plea bargain.