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Slovakia files charges against accused Nazi arrested in Hungary

Slovakian authorities on Thursday announced that they have filed new charges against a 97-year-old Hungarian man arrested in Budapest last month on allegations of abusing and helping deport thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. The charges concern facilitating the deportation of Jews to Germany, and the case in Slovakia means that extradition proceedings may now be launched in Hungary. Earlier this week Slovak Justice Minister Tomas Borec [official profile, in Slovak] asked a court to seek from Hungary the extradition of the man alleged to be Laszlo Csatary [JURIST report]. The Hungarian man was arrested after the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) [advocacy website], a Jewish human rights organization committed to finding and prosecuting Holocaust war criminals, submitted new evidence [JURIST report] to the Budapest prosecutor's office detailing the war crimes allegedly committed by Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatary, a former senior Hungarian police officer in the Slovakian city of Kosice. The evidence submitted to Prosecutor Dr. Gabor Hetenyi alleged that Csatary was one of the main actors responsible for deporting 300 Jews from Kosice to Kamenetz-Podolsk in Ukraine, where they were killed in 1941. The SWC also accused Csatary of being responsible for transferring about 15,700 Jews to Auschwitz [JURIST news archive]. According to a Czechoslovak court ruling from June 8, 1948, Csatary was found guilty of deportations to Nazi death camps and of unlawfully whipping, torturing or killing people in 1944, and he was sentenced to death in absentia. Czechoslovakia abolished the death penalty three years before dividing into Slovakia and the Czech Republic, so the death sentence would likely be changed to life imprisonment if Csatary is extradited from Hungary.

Earlier this month Hungarian prosecutors charged Csatary [JURIST report] with the "unlawful torture of human beings," a war crime that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Csatary is at the top of the SWC's list of most wanted Nazi war criminals [BBC backgrounder], and the SWC had already called on the Hungarian government to prosecute the Nazi war criminal [JURIST report] when the center issued its annual report in April. Nazi prosecution continues regardless of the ages of the criminals. In January the Ingolstadt Prosecutor's Office [official website, in German] filed a motion [JURIST report] to jail Klaas Faber, a Dutch native who fled to Germany after being convicted in the Netherlands in 1947 of Nazi war crimes. Germany reopened investigations into former Nazi death camp guards in October, which stemmed from the conviction of John Demjanjuk [JURIST reports], a former guard at a camp in Poland who was deported to Germany to stand trial for his alleged Nazi crimes. Last September alleged Nazi Sandor Kepiro died while he awaited an appeal [JURIST report] on his acquittal on war crimes charges.

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