PARIS (Feb. 15)
President Georges Pompidou has sent a personal message to Gen. Hugo Banzer, President of Bolivia, demanding the extradition of Klaus Barbie, a wanted Nazi war criminal, living in Bolivia under the alias of Klaus Altmann, Pompidou’s message was sent this week, it was learned today. It was France’s second note to Bolivian authorities regarding Barbie-Altmann, the first having been a request to hold the man in custody until his identity could be positively established.
French sources said tonight that Defense Minister Michel Debre will hold a press conference shortly to disclose the case against Barbie compiled by French military courts. Documents believed to establish without doubt that Altmann is indeed Barbie were turned over to French military judges by the West German Attorney General in Munich last week. But the League Against Anti-Semitism and Racism (LICA) has complained that French authorities were slow to act on the evidence and may allow Barbie to escape as a consequence.
Barbie-Altmann was reportedly released from jail in La Paz several days ago after friends paid a $4,000 debt he owed the Bolivian government. His immediate whereabouts are unknown and some sources here believe he may have smuggled himself into Paraguay where wanted Nazis live unmolested.
Simon Wiesenthal, director of the Nazi war crimes documentation center in Vienna, said today that Barbie’s identity could be established easily by comparing his fingerprints on file in the International Red Cross card index in Geneva with those of the man calling himself Altmann. An IRC spokesman said today that a request for Barbie’s prints were expected from French authorities but so far no request has been made.