Anni Dewani Zola Tongo

Shrien Dewani is accused of murder of his wife Anni while on honeymoon in Cape Town. Image: Supplied

Shrien Dewani to be held at notorious psychiatric hospital in Cape Town

Shrien Dewani, accused of orchestrating the murder of his wife while on their honeymoon in South Africa, is finally being extradited this week after years of legal battles. We take a look at where he will stay while awaiting trial.

Anni Dewani Zola Tongo

Shrien Dewani is accused of murder of his wife Anni while on honeymoon in Cape Town. Image: Supplied

Valkenberg_hospitalFollowing the announcement on 23 March that Shrien Dewani will be extradited to South Africa to stand trial for the murder of his wife on their honeymoon, it has now been reported that he could spend months in a notorious mental hospital in Cape Town.

Due to Dewani’s reported diagnosis of PTSD and depression, he will be held in Ward 20 of Valkenberg Hospital while his fitness to stand trial is assessed.

Dewani, 33, denies ordering hitmen to murder his new wife Anni and will be extradited on 7 April and sent to the Western Cape High Court as soon as he arrives. He is then due to be transferred to the psychiatric ward.

If he is not fit to stand trial within 18 months, he will be returned to the UK, as agreed by the British and South African authorities.

A source told the Daily Mirror: “This is Dewani’s worst nightmare. People in Ward 20 are being assessed as to whether they should stand trial or are insane while others are there permanently.

“It’s full of murderers and rapists. It will be like walking into hell for him.”

What will happen next?

However, at Dewani’s own request he will have his own room, according to court documents.

He will have an initial assessment over 30 days but could legally stay in South Africa for up to 18 months before being sent back to the UK if deemed unfit to stand trial.

However, even if he is deemed fit to stand trial, he could be held at the hospital if he is denied bail or if it is found he cannot make informed decisions himself and needs the state to care for him.

Dewani’s last chance to appeal the extradition is at the European Court of Human Rights but the court has confirmed that no appeal has been lodged and that it probably would not be processed in time anyway.

Ward 20 at Valkenburg Hospital

Ward 20 is a maximum security ward and the whole hospital is often compared to a prison, with visitors noting its body searches, steel gates and unsightly buildings.

According to South Africa’s The Times, the usually tight security has been beefed up even further in anticipation of Dewani’s arrival, as five guards are now searching and monitoring vehicles entering the premises compared to three last week.

In a 2006 report, Ward 20 had 50 patients, of whom 35 were state patients with the other 15 on trial.

The hospital is reportedly much more fit-for-purpose since refurbishments a few years ago, although a psychiatrist there admitted it is still far from ideal. Now there is even a Friends of Valkenburg Trust, which is run by volunteers who provide activities to help patients recover, including cookery, belly dancing, arts and crafts and sewing, as well as a salon providing haircuts for free, and a shop.

An R978 million revitalisation project is still ongoing at Valkenberg, which is expected to finish in mid-2016, which will mean the hospital will add a forensic psychiatry service to provide court assessments and care for state patients on top of their normal treatment for severe psychiatry disorders.

Three South African men are already serving long sentences for their involvement in Anni Dewani’s murder.