Australian court: Extradite accused Nazi


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — An alleged Nazi war criminal can be extradited to his native Hungary, an Australian court ruled.

After nearly five years of legal wrangling, the Federal Court in Perth unanimously rejected an appeal Thursday by Charles (Karoly) Zentai, who is wanted for the murder of an 18-year-old Hungarian Jew in 1944. 

The judges granted Zentai 14 days to decide whether to appeal to the nation’s highest court. Failing that, Zentai, who turned 88 Thursday, would have to appeal to the Minister of Home Affairs to prevent his surrender to Hungarian authorities.

Zentai is accused of helping torture Peter Balazs in Budapest for not wearing the mandatory yellow Star of David before allegedly throwing his body into the Danube.

Zentai vehemently denies the allegations, claiming he left Budapest on Nov. 7, 1944 — the day before the alleged murder. He arrived in Australia in 1950.

Hungary issued an arrest warrant for Zentai in 2005 after the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which lists him in its top 10 of most wanted suspected Nazis, discovered that he was living in Western Australia.

The center’s Jerusalem director, Efraim Zuroff, told J-Wire, an Australian Web site, that 
“It is important to keep in mind that the suspect may be elderly now, but when he was in the prime of his life, he is accused of devoting his strength and energies to the commission of a most heinous crime.”

Australia has never extradited an alleged Nazi war criminal.

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