SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – An alleged Nazi war criminal jailed in Australia while awaiting extradition to Hungary was granted bail.
A Federal Court judge granted bail Wednesday to Charles (Karoly) Zentai, 88, who had been in a Perth prison since October after losing numerous appeals to avoid becoming the first person Australia has extradited in connection with Nazi war crimes.
Zentai is accused of killing 18-year-old Peter Balasz in Hungary in 1944 because he was not wearing the mandatory yellow Star of David.
He has vehemently denied the charges, claiming since he was arrested by Australian Federal Police in 2005 that he had left Budapest the day before the alleged murder.
Zentai’s son, Ernie Steiner, told reporters after Wednesday’s ruling that "Christmas without him would just be something terrible I think, and for him to be alone inside a prison would have been even worse.”
Lawyers for Zentai, who was living in Australia, are appealing the decision by the government to surrender him to Hungarian authorities.