Alleged Nazi wins extradition case

By Sandy Rashty, August 15, 2012

An accused Nazi war criminal has won an extradition court case and will not stand trial for the murder of a Jewish teenager in Hungary.

Charles Zentai, 90, was accused of beating 14-year-old Peter Balazs to death in Budapest in 1944 for not wearing a yellow star.

The former warrant officer and member of the then pro-Nazi Hungarian military, claims he was not in Budapest at the time of the attack.

Mr Zentai will not be extradited to stand trial in his hometown after Australia’s highest court ruled that the “war crime” offence did not exist in Hungarian law at the time of the alleged murder.

Mr Zentai said: “As a soldier I had to carry out orders.

“But none of those orders had anything to do with rounding up Jews or torturing them or anything like that.”

Mr Zentai was arrested by Australian police in 2009 after the Hungarian government requested his extradition.

He is currently number seven on the Simon Weisenthal Centre list of the ten most wanted Nazi war criminals.

A spokesperson for the Australian Minister of Home Affairs, Jason Clare, confirmed that the man made an Australian citizen in 1950 will not be extradited to Hungary, leaving the European government with no further challenges.

Last updated: 1:39pm, August 15 2012