Q & A with the son of Charles Zentai

October 22, 2009 by Henry Benjamin
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Charles Zentai, the 88-yr-old Perth man facing extradition to Hungary where authorities want to question him about the murder of an 18-yr-old Jew in 1944, will be remanded in custody today. J-Wire speaks to his son…

Charles Zentai

Charles Zentai

Peter Balazs

Peter Balazs

In 1944, Peter Balazs was pulled off a Budapest tram and dragged to army barracks where he was beaten to death. Zentai, who arrived in Australia in 1950, is alleged to be one of  three men involved in the murder.

On the eve of the remand, Zentai’s son Ernie Steiner speaks to J-Wire.

Q. I understand there is a distinct possibility your father will be  remanded in custody tomorrow.

A. Yes that is correct. He will be in custody for an indefinite term awaiting the Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor’s decision.

Q. How is the family handling this?

A. We are trying to give my Dad hope by reminding him that the submissions to the Minister are compelling, truthful arguments that have never been able to
be presented to the courts in Australia. We believe that when people are informed of the real situation they will be amazed that this has been allowed to happen to an innocent man. As a family we have a strong faith in God and believe that my father will be set free and allowed to live the rest of his life peacefully.

Q. Do you think there is a possibility this will be short-term?

A. We have had no indication of this. The terms of the Treaty specify that the Minister will make a decision “as soon as practicable”, we seek a more accurate definition of this term and await an answer from the Minister.

Q. Does this mean a High Court appeal is not on the table?

A. Yes

Q. Has anyone explained the procedure if the extradition is approved?

A. Yes, my father can still seek to have the Minister’s decision reviewed by the courts.

Q. He is 88-years-old. How is he bearing up under the circumstances?

A. He is suffering extreme stress and his heart is fibrillating at this very moment. He has lost his appetite for food.

Q. You met with the Simon Wiesenthal Institute’s Dr Efraim Zuroff some time ago in Perth. Has there been any further contact?

A. No. Unfortunately Dr Zuroff has overlooked some very important issues and evidence in my father’s case which have been presented to the Minister.

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