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Australian government appeals Zentai ruling

JTA

January 5, 2011 | 10:03 am

The Australian government is appealing a court ruling that spared an alleged Nazi war criminal from being extradited to Hungary.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor approved the extradition of Charles Zentai in 2009, but a Federal Court judge overturned the decision last year.

The government on Tuesday appealed the ruling that said Zentai, 89, of Perth, was not eligible for extradition.

Zentai, a former soldier in the Hungarian army, is wanted for questioning in the murder of an 18-year-old Jewish man in Nazi-occupied Budapest in 1944.

He has vehemently denied the claims since they surfaced in 2005 following a campaign mounted by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Zentai says he left Budapest on Nov. 7, 1944—the day before Peter Balazs was murdered.

The Wiesenthal Center’s spokesman, Efraim Zuroff, said the appeal “is the correct response by the Australian Government, which should be commended for its perseverance in this case. His fate should be decided in a court in Hungary.”

The government’s appeal is expected to be heard by the full bench of the Federal Court.

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