Zentai Decision Appealed

January 5, 2011 by Henry Benjamin
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A decision by the Federal Court in Perth not to extradite Charles Zentai to Hungary to face questioning about the murder of a Jewish youth in 1944 has been appealed by the Federal Government.

18-yr-old Peter Balazs was dragged off a Budapest tram and taken to military barracks where he was beaten to death by three men in front of other prisoners. His body was then dumped in the Danube.

Charles Zentai

89-yr-old Perth resident Charles Zentai who immigrated to Australia in 1950 is wanted by the Hungarian authorities for questioning about the murder. The application for extradition was approved by the courts in 2009 but overturned before a single judge of the Federal Court last year.

The newly announced appeal will be heard by three Federal Court judges at a date yet to be fixed.

From Israel, Efraim Zuroff, the Executive Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre praised the Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor for appealing the decision against Zentai’s extradition. He said: “Minister O’Connor has wisely not yet been persuaded by the disinformation campaign launched on behalf of Mr Zentai by his family and supporters who are determined to prevent him from facing justice. There is an abundance of evidence which points unequivocally to Zentai’s active participation in the murder of Peter Balzs which originally convinced the Hungarian  government to initially seek his extradition in the late forties. Rather than regarding Zentai as a frail pensioner, he should be considered as a person who at the time of his physical prime devoted all of his strength and energy to the persecution of innocent Jews.”

Dr. Colin Rubenstein, Executive Director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council said today, “AIJAC welcomes the decision by the Commonwealth Government to appeal the Federal Court’s decision in the matter of the extradition of alleged murderer Charles Zentai to Hungary. After analysing the Federal Court verdict handed down last July, AIJAC came to the conclusion an appeal against the decision to release Mr. Zentai was warranted and that a number of aspects of the matter required further scrutiny. It is in the interests of justice and fairness that the charges against him be properly dealt with in a court of law.”


8 Responses to “Zentai Decision Appealed”
  1. Margaret says:

    Adrian, it seems to me that it is alright for you to voice your opinion and direct it at individuals. Do some research and look at some of the documentation that is available regarding this case. I consider myself to be an honest person who has lived life and have had many experiences. I maintain that if this individual has nothing to fear go back to Hungary and be questioned, clear his name and prove that all allegations are incorrect. I don’t understand how you can say to keep emotions out of it. Your comments also tells me that you are right off track. Justice will be done by a higher power and this man will suffer the consiquences of what ever he has done when the time comes for him to die and due to his age that is not that far away. I do have an understanding of the legal proceedings of this country. This man applied for Australian Citizenship without declaring his past so why should he be protected by this country.

  2. Adrian Thomas says:

    George, David and Margaret: Leave out the emotion it shows how little you understand legal proceedings in this country as in most others the presumption of innocence prevails unless there is evidence that will satisfy a court be it a judge or jury beyond reasonable doubt. In this instance the authorities have failed to meet that standard. Margaret we don’t know if there was an arrest warrant in existence at the time he came to Australia.

    You would all have this man extradited on the basis that he is wanted for questioning. You cannot extradite for questioning that is the law, if the Hungarian authorities wish to question/interview then they have to come to Australia to do so with the assistance of Australian Law enforcement officers.

    Further no evidence has been presented to the effect that he committed the alleged offence, it is an unsafe legal system that allows a prosecution based upon the untested depositions of persons who are now deceased. The defence counsel, the court and jurors cannot assess the authenticity of the witness if he or she is deceased. I am sure you wouldn’t want one of your loved ones tried for a criminal matter under such circumstances.

    You would all have him cast into prison without a fair and proper trial that speaks volumes about yourselves and is reminiscent of the inquisition and the Salem witchcraft trials.

  3. Margaret says:

    All of the people who say that this is a poor old man and he should be left alone. I say to you what if it was your child who was robbed of his life, what would you want done ? Would you want justice or would you turn the other cheek. This man came to this country knowing that he had an arresting warrant against him and he was wanted by the Hungarian authorities after the war. This man was not an Australian Citizen when he allegedly commited the crime. If he has nothing to hide go back to Hungary answer the questions and clear his name. If the Jewish community is suffering because of this man don’t you think that the Hungarian community is also suffering. In my opinion this man is a selfish miserable old man who is only worried about himself he has no regard for his own family let alone anyone else. I’m glad that the goverment has taken a stand and appealed, the sooner he is sent back the better.

  4. Lynne Newington says:

    Continued pursuit of old men is a poor allergory.
    The crimes of “old” men were carried out when they were once young and vigorious.
    The same applies to those who have sexually abused innocent children, in some instances as young as two years old as has been recorded.
    The turning of the other cheek is intrisically evil and can destroy a soul in the real world, never mind about the “not casting a good light on the Jewish community”.

  5. Adrian Thomas says:

    Its time that this was put to rest and the old gentleman was left to live out the rest of his life. I am not fully conversant with al the legal proceedings but from what has been reported he is wanted for questioning about the incident and if tried would face a military tribunal not a properly constituted court of jurisdiction. to the best of my knowledge you cannot under Australian Law be extradited for questioning. Extradition can only be granted when the requesting country is able to provide evidence that the subject has (1). committed a like offence in this country (2) that there is sufficient evidence to support a prosecution against the subject in this country before extradition can proceed.

    The Hungarians and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre have no living witnesses to the alleged event and the depositions of deceased persons cannot be tested in a court of law. Both Efraim Zuroff, the Executive Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and Brendan O’Connor and t he Australian Government need to get over it.

    Mr Zuroff should take a look at the treatment of the Palestinians by his fellow countrymen there are sharp similarities in history and the present.

    The Australian government is all too quick to throw its citizens to the wolves Mr Zentai joins David Hicks and Julian Assange in the list of victims of shabby treatment by the Australian government .

    Give it a rest, send the Hungarian’s,and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre packing and let the old man live out the last years of his life in peace.

    The continued pursuit of old men does nothing to caste a good light on the Jewish community it shows them as being a vengeful spitefull and not in the least prepared to turn the other cheek.

  6. David says:

    Absolutely amazing that anyone can even consider leniency or compassion for a person of any age for whom there is apparently abundant evidence of such a crime as murder, shame on you Leon.

  7. George says:

    There should never be a Statute of Limitation on crimes against other human beings regardless of age, where or when it took place.

  8. leon says:

    Absolutely amazing that a person of his age should be hunted down for activities true or untrue committed during a war. There were horrific acts of violence on both sides as there are in all wars.

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