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Dewani still fighting extradition to SA

Mthunzi Mhaga says South African prosecutors have a strong case against Dewani.

FILE: Shrien Dewani (R) arrives at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court sitting at Woolwich Crown Court in south London, on August 10, 2011. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani looks determined to avoid extradition to South Africa.

His lawyers are launching a bid to fight his extradition in the United Kingdom's Supreme Court in what is their latest move to stop the 33-year-old British businessman from being sent to Cape Town to stand trial for his wife's murder.

It's alleged Dewani hired a hit man to kill his new bride Anni in Gugulethu in November 2010.

Last month the Westminster Magistrate's Court rejected his attempt to stay in the UK for further treatment for mental health problems.

The Justice Ministry's Mthunzi Mhaga says South African prosecutors have a strong case against Dewani.

"We believe we've complied with the legislative requirements and we have a formidable case against Dewani that he must answer to in South Africa."

Mhaga says the British businessman has not exhausted all his legal options.

"It's not his final legal avenue because he can still raise a point of unfairness in so far as the possible violation of his rights before the European Court of Human Rights."

APPEAL TO EXTRADITION BEGINS

Furthermore, the two UK judges who initially blocked Dewani's extradition back to South Africa are to be asked to rule again on the matter.

Dewani was ordered to be extradited last month after a clear improvement in his mental health. But his family has now launched another appeal.

Lawyers acting for the 33-year-old British businessman must prove to the courts that the original ruling by two judges to block his extradition raised "a point of law of general public importance" if they are to succeed.

In March last year two high court judges put a halt to his extradition, saying it was unjust and oppressive because of his mental condition.

Dewani, who denies any involvement in his wife's killing, remains at a secure psychiatric unit.

Meanwhile, three South African men are currently serving lengthy sentences for their part in the alleged staged hijacking.

Xolile Mngeni was sentenced to life imprisonment in December. Mngeni was convicted of robbery with aggravating circumstances, premeditated murder and the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Zola Tongo were sentenced to 25 years and 18 years in prison respectively for their part in the crime.