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Accused war criminal fights extradition to Hungary

In Australia, alleged World War II criminal Károly Zentai has managed to stall his extradition to Hungary a bit longer.

In Australia, alleged World War II criminal Károly Zentai has managed to stall his extradition to Hungary a bit longer.

Zentai, whom authorities seek to charge with the torture and murder of Péter Balázs in a Budapest army barracks in 1944, has been under investigation as a Nazi war criminal since 2005. A lower court ruled earlier this year that Zentai could be extradited to Hungary on the basis of the charge, but today the accused won in his bid to appeal the decision in the High Court of Australia.

Zentai’s identity and the encouragement to have him brought back to Hungary was mostly brought about by efforts of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its “Operation: Last Chance” mission, a program designed to bring participants in the Holocaust to justice. As of January 2007, Operation: Last Chance had identified some 458 alleged criminals, with 92 of them ultimately facing criminal prosecution. 

Together with the Targum Shlishi organization, the Wiesenthal Center traced Zentai to the suburbs of Perth, his home for some 40 years; Zentai had been working as a mental health nurse. Zentai originally entered Australia in 1950. He is now 85 years old.