Thursday, October 08, 2009

Zentai loses another appeal against extradition

From The Australian, October 08, 2009, by Debbie Guest:

ALLEGED Nazi war criminal Charles Zentai has lost another appeal against his extradition to Hungary but has avoided being placed in custody after a stay on his surrender was granted.

Today, the full bench of the Federal Court in Perth ruled Mr Zentai eligible to be extradited to Hungary to face allegations he participated in the murder of Jewish teenager Peter Balazs on November 8, 1944. At the time Mr Zentai was a 23-year-old warrant officer in the Hitler-aligned Hungarian army.

The ruling backs earlier decisions made by the Federal Court and WA Magistrates Court.

After submissions from Mr Zentai's lawyer, Peter Johnston, Justice Michael Barker granted a 14-day stay of execution on the surrender. This will allow Mr Zentai's legal team time to consider whether to seek leave to appeal to the High Court.

If no appeal is made, Mr Zentai will be placed in custody, awaiting the final determination of Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor.

...Mr Zentai's family have already made lengthy submissions to Mr O'Connor, arguing he is innocent.

A spokesman for Mr O'Connor said today that if and when a determination was required by the minister, he would make a decision as soon as possible.

Chief Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff from the Jerusalem-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre said he believed Mr Zentai would attempt to lodge an appeal in the High Court because he was afraid to face justice.

"He's obviously afraid of facing justice which only strengthens my case," he said.
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