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Csatary war crimes trial suspended over double jeopardy

(JTA) — Citing double jeopardy, a Hungarian court suspended the trial of war criminal Laszlo Csatary three weeks after its start in Budapest.

In suspending the trial on Monday, the Metropolitan Tribunal of Budapest said Csatary, 98, already may have been convicted and sentenced for some of the crimes attributed to him, the Hungarian news agency MTI reported. The crimes  include torturing Jews and deporting them to their deaths during World War II.

Csatary, a former police commander of the Kassa internment camp in Slovakia, was sentenced to death in absentia for his crimes in 1948 by a Czechoslovakian court after he fled to Canada.

The Budapest Prosecutor’s Office told MTI the earlier ruling was immaterial to the trial in Budapest and that the prosecutors would appeal the suspension.

Csatary was deported from Canada in 1997 and indicted in Hungary last year, where he resided under his own name since his deportation. He was discovered by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and arrested last year following an expose on him in the British paper The Sun. He was indicted last month, nearly a year after his arrest.

Slovakia has asked that Csatary be extradited to face additional charges, but Hungary has declined the request.

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