JOHANNESBURG (AP) – A British man accused of arranging for the murder of his wife during their honeymoon in South Africa pleaded not guilty on Monday to all charges.
Shrien Dewani is charged with conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, and defeating the ends of justice.
“I plead not guilty to all five counts of,” he said. According to local media, Dewani seemed calm as he appeared in court in Cape Town, the first day of his trial. Dewani’s mental health has been under scrutiny after he attempted suicide in 2011. He is being held at a psychiatric hospital in Cape Town for the duration of the trial.
His wife Anni was shot in Cape Town in 2010 while the couple was on honeymoon. Dewani was arrested in the United Kingdom in 2010 and was extradited to South Africa in April after a lengthy legal process.
Dewani claims he and his wife were hijacked and kidnapped at gunpoint in Cape Town. South Africa authorities argue that Dewani paid local residents Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni to kill his wife. The three South African men have already been convicted of the crime and are serving jail terms.
The trial began Monday in a Cape Town court. The victim’s family packed the courtroom along with the Dewani family. On the eve of the trial, Anni’s relatives held a press conference, pleading with Dewani to be truthful in his testimony.