Suspect in S. African honeymoon murder has tumor

AP News
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Posted: Jun 13, 2011 8:18 AM
Suspect in S. African honeymoon murder has tumor

Doctors discovered a brain tumor in a suspect in the murder of a Swede whose British husband is accused of orchestrating her death while the two were honeymooning in South Africa, prosecutors said Monday, postponing a trial that has gained international attention.

Magistrate Jackie Redelinghuys received a medical report on Xolile Mngeni from prosecutors on Monday, when the trial was to have started in a South African court. Redelinghuys postponed trial until Aug. 2 for both Mngeni and his co-accused, Mziwamadoda Qwabe.

The medical report did not say what Mngeni's prospects for recovery were, but said he had surgery last week and remained hospitalized.

Co-accused Qwabe is jailed pending trial.

Anni Dewani was found shot dead in an abandoned taxi in Cape Town's impoverished Gugulethu township in November. Her relatives were in Cape Town Monday for what they had thought would be the start of the trial.

Her uncle Ashok Hindocha spoke to reporters on behalf of the family, thanking "the whole world for the support" they have received.

In a confession last year, taxi driver Zola Tongo said Dewani's husband, Shrien, offered him 15,000 rand (about $2,100) to arrange the murder and make it look like a carjacking. Tongo said he recruited Mngeni and Qwabe to carry out the murder.

In a plea bargain, Tongo was convicted of kidnapping, murder, aggravated robbery and obstructing justice, and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. He is expected to testify against the other suspects.

Shrien Dewani denies involvement. He had been allowed to return to Britain before Tongo's confession and is fighting extradition.

During extradition hearings, South Africa's lawyer said 31-year-old Shrien Dewani told a witness six months before the murder that he felt pressured into getting married and wanted a way out. The unnamed witness is willing to give evidence if Shrien Dewani stands trial, according to South African authorities.

Shrien Dewani claims the couple's vehicle was attacked by gunmen during a township tour. Such a tour is a typical activity for visitors to South Africa.

Shrien Dewani is being held at a secure mental hospital pending a decision on his extradition. His lawyers say Shrien Dewani is suffering from severe post-traumatic stress.