Zentai’s son talks to J-Wire

November 23, 2009 by Henry Benjamin
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Ernie Steiner , whose 88-yr-old father Charles Zentai is currently in a Perth prison awaiting extradition to his native Hungary to face questioning about the 1944 murder of an 18-yr-old Jewish youth, failed to get a meeting with Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor last week.

O’Connor had been visiting Fremantle. He holds the key to the future of Zentai who stands accused of the death of Peter Balazs who was pulled from a Budapest tram and taken to an army barracks where three men allegedly beat him to death.

J-Wire asked Steiner how he felt about not being able to talk to O’Connor;

Ernie Steiner

Ernie Steiner

Yes, unfortunately we didn’t get to meet. I had some questions that I felt warranted a response or clarification. Because I have never been given the

opportunity to talk to Mr O’Connor or to any of the previous Ministers, by phone or in person, I thought his presence in Fremantle on Friday morning

was a narrow window of opportunity. It was narrower than I had hoped.

Never mind. The Minister, through the Attorney General’s Department, has stated that he is under no obligation to explain his reasons for the decision to


There is presently a 14 day injunction on proceedings during which time the Hungarians cannot take my father away. Without the injunction there was a real possibility that he could have been removed from prison under private arrangements without his lawyers, family or even himself being notified.

Our family would have woken up one morning to find that he was gone. During this time of injunction, preparations will be made to lodge and application to have the Minister’s decision reviewed in the Federal Court. My father has this right of review under Australian law. We are hopeful that the legal arguments and evidence for my father’s innocence will be reviewed at this time. These were not considered by the Minister as reasons for non-extradition.

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