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Slovakia Paves the Way for Extradition of Hungarian Nazi

A Slovak court has paved the way for the extradition of Laszlo Csatary from Hungary to Slovakia.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 4/26/2013, 2:16 AM

Holocaust memorial
Holocaust memorial
Flash 90

A Slovak court has paved the way for the extradition of an alleged Nazi-era war criminal from Hungary to Slovakia after rejecting his complaint against an earlier verdict, Slovakia's TASR news agency said on Thursday.

"The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a complaint filed by Laszlo Csatary over a formal mistake," TASR wrote, according to AFP.

The verdict means the 98-year-old ethnic Hungarian Csatary can be tried on charges of crimes against humanity committed during World War II in what is now Slovakia.

A communist-era Czechoslovak court sentenced Csatary to death in absentia in 1948 for having organized the deportation to their deaths of some 16,000 Jews from the ghetto of Kosice in present-day southeast Slovakia, then part of Hungary.

Since the death penalty is now banned in Slovakia, a court in Kosice reduced Csatary's sentence to life imprisonment earlier this month to help pave the way for his extradition. Csatary complained about this verdict.

Currently under house arrest in Budapest, Csatary tops the Simon Wiesenthal Center's dwindling wanted list of surviving suspected Nazi war criminals.

The hunt for Csatary gained momentum last year after a Slovak citizen whose father was deported to Germany in January 1945 filed charges against him for crimes against humanity, which carry no statute of limitations, insisting that he be tried on Slovak soil.

Csatary helped run the Jewish ghetto in Kosice, a town that was visited in April 1944 by Adolf Eichmann, a key figure in the Nazis' "Final Solution", the Wiesenthal Center says.

While there between 1941 and 1944, Csatary beat and brutalized Jews and sent 16,000 to their deaths in Ukraine and to the gas chambers at the Auschwitz death camp, the center said.

Csatary was arrested last July in the Hungarian capital on information from the Wiesenthal Center. At the time, the state prosecutor said he was in good mental and physical health.

Csatary had fled to Canada after the war but apparently lived undisturbed in Hungary for about 15 years before his arrest. He has denied all allegations against him.