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article imageNazi suspect Charles Zentai wins Australia extradition case

By Layne Weiss     Aug 15, 2012 in World
Charles Zentai, 90, a suspected Nazi war criminal, has won his battle against the Australian government's attempts to extradite him to Hungary.
According to BBC News, Zentai was accused of torturing and killing a Jewish teenager in Budapest in 1944. At the time, Zentai was a warrant officer with the Hungarian army, an ally of Nazi Germany.
The Australian High Court ruled that they could not extradite Mr. Zentai to Hungary because the offense of "war crime" did not exist in Hungary in 1944, The Australian reports.
Hungary's "war crime" offense was enacted in 1945, Perth Now notes.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the commonwealth argued that while the specific offense of "war crime" didn't exist, Zentai could have been charged with murder, which was an offense under Hungarian law in 1944.
According to The Australian, Mr. Zentai and his son Ernie Steiner were notified of the court's decision via email.
Mr Steiner was happy and thankful, but also said he wants an apology from the Australian government for what his father went through.
Charles Zentai had been fighting extradition since 2009, BBC News reports.
Mr Zentai has vehemently denied the allegations that he tortured and murdered a teenager.
According to BBC News,the Hungarian government alleged that Zentai and two other soldiers in the Hungarian army beat teenager Peter Balazs to death for not wearing a yellow Star of David to proclaim he was Jewish.
Zentai has maintained he had already left Budapest by then, MSN Malaysia reports.
In November 2009, an Australian court ruled that Zentai could be extradited to face trial in Hungary, but that decision was overturned on appeal in August, 2011, Perth Now reports.
After receiving the news that he would be permitted to stay in Australia, Mr Zentai spoke with The World Today's David Weber.
"Still the stress, you know. I've been so stressed the last few days in particular. So I know I just don't know how I feel," Zentai said in an attempt to describe his reaction to the court's decision.
He also told Mr. Weber that he is willing to answer any questions from Australian authorities.
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