Zentai may be home for Christmas

December 15, 2009 by Henry Benjamin
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The Federal Government has reversed its decision to oppose a bail application by Charles Zentai, the 88-yr-old Perth man currently in prison facing extradition to Hungary to face questions relating to the 1944 murder of an 18-yr-old Jewish youth.

Zentai’s son, Ernie Steiner, sent J-Wire a copy of the document he received confirming that opposition to the application for bail, due to be heard in the Perth Federal Court tomorrow has been reversed.

Peter Balazs was pulled off a tram in Budapest in 1944 and beaten to death in a nearby army barracks. Two men were found guilty of his murder and the Hungarian government wants to question Zentai about the crime. The 18-yr-old Balazs had not been wearing the mandatory yellow Star of David but was under Swiss protection.

O’Connor’s counsel has written to the Federal Court stating that Zentai’s appeal is based on the grounds that “the applicant is not accused of an extradition offence as the extradition is sought only for the purpose of the preliminary investigation.”

He also pointed out that Zentai was appealing on the grounds that the offence was not an extraditable offence in Hungary at the time it happened based on the Treaty of Extradition between Hungary and Australia.

Consequently the Minister’s counsel  has written to the Court stating “The respondent does not oppose release, subject to bail”.

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