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Swedish bride slaying trial to start in July

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Swedish bride slaying trial to start in July
14:18 CEST+02:00
Two alleged South African hitmen will go on trial on July 30th in the killing of honeymooner Anni Dewani, even if her British husband has not yet been extradited to stand trial with them, a judge said Friday.

"This matter is now ready to finally start on July 30," Judge Andre le Grange said.

Xolile Mngeni and Mziwamadoda Qwabe are accused of killing Swedish-born Anni Dewani in November 2010 in a murder set up to look like a botched hijacking.

On March 30, Britain's High Court temporarily halted the extradition to South Africa of the victim's husband, Shrien Dewani, citing mental health grounds.

Dewani is suspected of masterminding the killing, but has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Lawyers for the two accused men said they would plead not guilty.

Mngeni underwent surgery to remove a brain tumour last year and looked

gaunt as he appeared with Qwabe on Friday.

Mngeni is set to undergo further medical tests over coming week, which could cause a new delay to the trial, his lawyer Qalisile Dayimani said.

Dayimani told AFP that his client was struggling to eat and that his prognosis was poor, although his most recent medical report indicated he was fit to stand.

Both men are being held in custody pending trial.

British high court judges have said that it was in the interests of justice that Dewani, who is being treated in a mental health hospital in Bristol, be extradited to face trial "as soon as he is fit".

Dewani has strongly denied arranging the contract killing of his 28-year-old wife, who was shot dead in an apparent carjacking as the couple drove through a township in Cape Town.

But their taxi driver, Zola Tongo, who was jailed for 18 years for his part in the crime, claimed in a plea bargain that the businessman paid for a hit on his wife.

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