Court boosts Australia’s bid to extradite accused Nazi war criminal


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – An Australian federal court decision has boosted the long-running effort to extradite alleged Nazi war criminal Charles Zentai to his native Hungary.

Three judges agreed Tuesday to refer the case back to Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor, who originally approved Zentai’s extradition to Hungary in 2009 to face a murder charge in the 1944 killing of 18-year-old Peter Balasz in Budapest. O’Connor’s decision was overturned on appeal last year, but the government appeal of that decision was upheld this week by the three-judge panel on two of the three grounds.

Zentai, 89 and frail, can lodge a further appeal in the High Court. He has fiercely defended his innocence since he was first arrested in 2005.

Australia has never extradited an accused Nazi war criminal.

Konrads Kalejs, also an alleged Nazi war criminal, died in Melbourne in 2001 at 88 while his case crawled through the courts.

Recommended from JTA