Hungary criticized for not extraditing war criminal

Hungarian authorities slammed for not extraditing Nazi Laszlo Csatary to Slovakia, where he already has been sentenced to death.

June 20, 2013 15:44
1 minute read.
Suspected Nazi war criminal Csatary

Suspected war criminal Csatary 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The former head of the Budapest Holocaust Museum has criticized Hungarian authorities for not extraditing accused Nazi war criminal Laszlo Csatary to Slovakia, where he already has been sentenced to death.

László Harsányi, a former Hungarian politician in the Socialist Party and, told Klubradio Wednesday that “Hungary does not really want to condemn Csatary. Due to his age and the usually long legal procedure, the Hungarian authorities will not be able to come to a final verdict in the case” before he dies.

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Still, “the Hungarian authorities did not want to extradite him, for some reason,” Harsányi said.

Csatary, 98, was charged by Hungarian prosecutors Tuesday with beating and whipping Jews as the police commander of the Kassa internment camp before sending about 12,000 in 1944 to be murdered by the Nazis in Auschwitz and other death camps, the Hungarian news agency MTI reported. According to Jerusalem’s Wiesenthal Center, Csatary had a key role in the deportation of 15,700 Jews to Auschwitz.

A Czechoslovak court sentenced Csatary to death in absentia in 1948 for war crimes. At the time, Csatary had already fled to Canada, which stripped him of his Canadian citizenship in 1997 and forced him to return to his native Hungary.

The town in what is now Slovakia, Kassa, from where Csatary deported Jews to their deaths, was then located in Hungary.

Observers in Hungary believe that Csatary was not deported in order to show the “honest intention” of the Hungarian authorities to condemn Csatary.

In what appears to be a precedent for the Csatary case, accused Nazi war criminal Sandor Kepiro was acquitted in Hungary in July 2011 of the murder of Jews and Serbs in 1942, and died in a hospital in Hungary two months later at the age of 97, while the decision was under appeal.

Hungarian prosecutors had charged Kepiro, a former World War II gendarmerie officer, with involvement in the killing of about 400 Jews and 800 Serbs during an anti-partisan raid in the Serbian city of Novi Sad, then under Hungarian control, on Jan. 23, 1942. Kepiro admitted to involvement in the raids but denied any knowledge of the massacre.

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