‘Indian-origin bride’s murder suspects ‘tortured by SA police’ to give statement against husband’

Friday, February 18, 2011

CAPE TOWN - In a new twist to Anni Dewai’s murder case in Cape Town, the lawyers of two men arrested over the Indian-origin bride’s killing have claimed that the accused were tortured by the South African police to give their statements against her husband.

South African police has been insisting that Anni’s Brit-Indian millionaire husband, Sherien Dewani, had masterminded the murder of his wide during their honeymoon in Cape Town last year. Dewani has denied all allegations against him.

Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 25, and Xolile Mngeni, 26, were arrested after the body of 28-year-old Anni Dewani was found in the back of a taxi. Both the suspects are in prison awaiting trial for the murder and are due in court next week, The Guardian reports.

The paper quoted Qwabe’s lawyer, Thabo Nogemane, as saying that his client was he was beaten “all over his body” with a heavy torch to give a statement against Dewani.

“I am instructed that some unknown police officer assaulted him by means of a big torch. He was hit all over his body. He said the statement was a suggestion put to him by the police. They already had the allegations so they told him: ‘Just sign here.’ I wouldn’t refer to it as a confession, just a statement,” Nogemane said.

Vusi Tshabalala, Mngeni’s lawyer, said that his client had also been abused, adding: “In the process of interrogating him, police would physically assault him with fists and use a plastic bag to suffocate him. He was frightened.”

Tshabalala further said that police had used “irregular methods” apparently because they were under pressure to solve such a high-profile case.

A plea bargain was arranged with the third South African accused over Anni’s killing, the couple’s taxi driver Zola Tongo, in just 36 hours, the paper said.

Tongo’s sentence was earlier reduced for his part in the murder in exchange for his testimony against Dewani. (ANI)

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