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Kreisky Wants War Criminal Released

November 30, 1982
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Chancellor Bruno Kreisky of Austria has urged the release of Austrian war criminal Walter Reder, a former SS colonel who has been imprisoned in Italy since 1945.

In a letter to his fellow Socialist, Bettino Raxi, secretary of the Italian Socialist Party, Kreisky noted that Reder is presently detained at Gaeta prison under "conditional liberty" and has only a little more than two years of his sentence to serve.

Kreisky said the Austrian government made an official request to the Italian authorities last March to allow Reder to return to Austria. He appealed also on humanitarian grounds, citing Reder’s illness and physical disabilities. He suffers from arteriosclerosis and one forearm and most of his stomach have been removed by surgery.

Kreisky’s letter referred as well to political reasons to free Reder. His return to Austria, he wrote, would counter the efforts by extreme rightwing groups to transform Reder into a martyr. Reder’s military superiors, condemned for the same war crimes, have long since been freed, Kreisky pointed out, noting that Reder is the last Austrian war prisoner still being held in Italy.

He urged Raxi to "sensitize" the democratic political forces in Italy, the authorities and public opinion to the judicial, humane and political reasons for an act of clemency toward Reder.

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