Asia

Nazi suspect Charles Zentai wins Australia extradition case

  • 15 August 2012
  • From the section Asia

A suspected Nazi war criminal has won his legal fight against the Australian government's attempts to extradite him to face trial in Hungary.

Charles Zentai, 90, was alleged to have tortured and murdered a Jewish teenager in Budapest in 1944.

But the Australian High Court backed an earlier ruling that he could not be extradited because there was no offence of "war crime" in Hungary in 1944.

Mr Zentai has been fighting extradition since 2009.

He has also denied the allegations that he committed the crime.

He is accused of carrying out the crime with two other soldiers when he was a warrant officer in the Hungarian army, which was allied with Nazi Germany.

The Hungarian government alleged that Mr Zentai took part in the fatal beating of Peter Balazs for not wearing a Star of David to identify him as Jewish. Mr Zentai said he was not in Budapest at that time.

Hungarian authorities requested to question Mr Zentai in 2005. He moved to Australia after World War II and was living in the western city of Perth.

In November 2009, an Australian court ruled that he could be extradited, but a federal court overturned the ruling.

The government appealed against the federal court's decision, but the High Court rejected their case.

Mr Zentai is an Australian citizen. His family members say he will agree to answer questions from Hungarian authorities, but will not leave Australia.

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