Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today strongly criticized a decision by a judge in Perth, Australia to reject a request submitted by the Hungarian government in 2005 for the extradition of Charles (Karoly) Zentai in connection with his role in the murder of Peter Balazs, an 18 year-old Jewish boy whom he caught in Budapest without the yellow star required by the local fascist authorities. In a statement issued by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center emphasized the insufferable delays of the legal process in the wake of bogus technical challenges mounted by Zentai’s lawyers and noted that the failure to extradite Zentai means that Australia is the only major Western democracy, to which at least hundreds of Nazi war criminals emigrated after World War II, which has failed to take successful legal action against a single one of them.
According to Zuroff:
“Today is a very sad day for Australia, Australian justice, and especially for the Balazs family and for people seeking justice for the victims of the Holocaust. If anything, the Zentai case shows a lack of understanding by the Australian judicial system of the urgency and importance of bringing suspected Holocaust criminals to justice. Contrary to today’s decision, Zentai’s age is totally irrelevant (no country in the world limits prosecution based solely on age) and the notion that he would be treated harshly in Hungary, a member in good standing of the European Union and NATO is ludicrous. We urge the Hungarian and Australian authorities to take all possible measures to overturn today’s unfortunate decision.”