Zentai wins appeal – no extradition

July 2, 2010 Agencies
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Perth pensioner Charles Zentai has won his appeal against his extradition to Hungary to face questioning about the 1944 murder of a Jewish teenager in Budapest.

The 88-year-old was appealing the decision made by the Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor.

Charles Zentai

Zentai’s son,Ernie Steiner told J-Wire: “I am grateful that in Australia the court system is independent of the government.” He said that his father was not in the best of health having suffered a stroke and a few broken ribs.

In 1944, 18-year-old Peter Balazs was pulled off a Budapest tram and dragged 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. Hungarian authorities had wanted to question Zentai about the murder and requested his extradition to Budapest…an extradition which was granted by the Federal Government.

But Steiner told J-Wire: “Today in court, we completed a long battle in which truth has prevailed. The beginnings of the story were inaccurate. Today was really the first time we had to let the court know our side of the argument.”

He added: “This is the happiest day of my life. As I talk to you I am looking at the smile on my father’s face.”

But the reaction at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Jerusalem was quite different. Executive Director Dr Efraim Zuroff told J-Wire: “It;s a disgusting and outrageous decision but quite believable. Australia is the only Western Anglo-Saxon country not to have convicted a Nazi war criminal. In 1986, the Menzies Review named 70 Nazi war criminals resident in Australia who should be investigated. Not one case has reached a positive conclusion.”

Zentai appeared in Perth’s Federal Court where Justice Neil McKerracher ruled that the Federal Government did not have the power to extradite Zentai stating that the war crime charge did not exist in Hungary at the time of Balazs’s murder.


3 Responses to “Zentai wins appeal – no extradition”
  1. admin says:

    sorted – s0me time ago

  2. Donald Sellin says:

    why could not the government of hungary send officials to australia and interview zentai hear. from what i have read and heard he is not charged with murder they just want to interview him. there were terrible things to jews during the 2nd world war and they must never be forgotten. don sellin.

  3. Norma says:

    Wow that Simon Weasanthal Centre just sounds baffling today, doesn’t it.
    A kid got murdered and an 88 year old won an appeal not to be extradited over it 65 years after the fact. Not to be prosecuted mind you, just questioned. Digusting and outrageous? Well no, just sounds pretty reasonable.
    70 suspected war criminals accused of 65 year old crimes not prosecuted. Well okay.

    Back in 2005 there were a hundred murdered prisoners in US run prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan with no prosecutions. Who knows what the number is now or if such a thing exists as a human who cares enough to count.

    Boil this down and we’re left with very little other than “but it was a Jew getting killed in WW2!”. Seriously. I think the Simon Wiesenthal Centre needs to step back a little and get some perspective on just how special dead Jews are and what constitutes disgusting and outrageous in the space-time continuum that has persisted since WW2.

    I’d suggest a relaxing corporate retreat to the sunny Congo. The perfect place to get some perspective on 6 million dead people and your own perspective of what does and does not constitute an outrageous situation and actual apathy.

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