Fourteen days stay for Zentai – appeal rejected

October 8, 2009 by J-Wire
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Charles Zentai’s appeal against an extradition order which could see him returned to his native Hungary to answer questions relating to the 1944 death of an 18-yr-old Jewish youth has failed.

Peter Balazs

Peter Balazs

Only two chances can prevent the extradition from happening….a successful appeal to the High Court or ultimately a refusal of Hungary’s request by the Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor.

A spokesman for the Minister told J-Wire today: “The Federal Court in Perth has granted Mr Zentai a 14 day stay and has invited submissions. Given that this is a matter for the judiciary, we feel it inappropriate to comment until the matter has been handed to the Minister for consideration.”

A warrant was issued in Hungary for the arrest of Zentai in 1948 under his original name of Karoly Steiner. He is one of three men allegedly involved in the death of Peter Balazs who was beaten to death and dumped in the Danube. Balazs had been spotted on board a Budapest tram in November 1944, not wearing the mandatory yellow Star of David. He had been living under Swiss protection at the time.

Zentai. who immigrated to Australia in 1950, was scheduled to have been placed immediately on remand upon the failure of his appeal but the stay allows him to maintain the limited freedom he currently has.

Efraim Zuroff, a renowned Nazi-hunter and executive director of the Simon Wiesenthal in Jerusalem had some special words for Zentai who turned 88 today.

Zuroff told J-Wire: “I obviously am pleased that his appeal was rejected but he still has the possibility of appealing to the High Court which  might again delay the process for who knows how long, which is exactly what his family wants, since their goal is to prevent a trial at all costs.
“I am hopeful that these technical delays, which have absolutely nothing to do with the serious accusations against Zentai, will come to an end as quickly as possible and that justice can finally be achieved at long last. That is the minimum that the Balazs family deserves and that should be a primary consideration for the Australian authorities.
“In this case and others like it, it is important to keep in mind that the suspect may be elderly now, but when he was in the prime of his life, he is accused of devoting his strength and energies to the commission of a most heinous crime.”

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