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Briton accused in wife's murder arrives in South Africa to stand trial

South AfricaAfricaHomicideCrimeCrime, Law and JusticeCape Town (South Africa)Jacob Zuma

British businessman Shrien Dewani has been extradited to South Africa to stand trial on murder charges in the death of his Swedish bride.

His arraignment in a Western Cape High Court earlier Tuesday, where he was formally charged with the murder of his wife, Anni, could spell the start of a second emotionally wrought murder trial for South Africa, spellbound already by revelations in the case against Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius.

The 28-year-old Anni and her husband were on a slum tourism trip through a Cape Town township during their 2010 honeymoon when they were carjacked at gunpoint. Dewani told South African police he was thrown out the back window of a moving taxi. The next morning, Anni's body was found with a single gunshot wound to the neck.

Three South Africans have been jailed in connection with the death; two of them claim Dewani ordered the hit, which Dewani has denied. 

Dewani's return to South Africa was delayed by claims that he was suffering from mental health problems. He arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday morning in a chartered plane, at a cost of about $287,000, said Mthunzi Mhaga, a spokesman for South Africa's Justice Department.

The Pistorius and Dewani cases spotlight the skyrocketing levels of crime in Africa's largest economy.

Murders increased from 15,609 in 2011-12 to 16,259 in 2012-2013, according to the South African Police Service. South Africa also has been described as the rape capital of the world, a reputation worsened by the February 2013 gang rape and murder of 17-year-old Anene Booysen.

President Jacob Zuma nonetheless has boasted of a decrease in crime since the advent of democracy in 1994.

Dewani will be detained at Valkenberg hospital in Cape Town, where he will receive psychiatric treatment pending his trial.

aamera.jiwaji@latimes.com

Twitter: @amijiwaji

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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South AfricaAfricaHomicideCrimeCrime, Law and JusticeCape Town (South Africa)Jacob Zuma
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