HUNGARIAN prosecutors have asked
a court to issue an arrest warrant for an 86-year old Hungarian-born
Australian suspected of murdering a Jew during World War
"We have received the documents from the military prosecutor's office and a judge
will make a decision within 15 days (on whether to issue
the arrest warrant)," said Diana Weber, spokeswoman for the military tribunal in Budapest today.
A spokesman for the military prosecutor's office, Tibor Acs, told MTI national
news agency it had asked for the arrest warrant to be issued.
Charles Zentai, a Hungarian-born Australian
now living in Perth, is suspected of torturing and murdering
an 18-year-old Jewish man in Budapest in 1944 while serving
in the army of Hitler's wartime ally Hungary.
Zentai is alleged to have fled to
Australia after the war while the accomplices were caught
If the tribunal issues the arrest
warrant, the case would go to Justice Minister Jozsef Petretei
who will decide whether to ask Australia to extradite Zentai.
Earlier this month, Zentai said he
had never known the victim and was willing to return to Hungary
to defend himself.
The charges against Zentai were launched
in January by the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre,
which seeks to bring to justice Nazi-era war criminals.
The organisation launched Operation:
Last Chance in Hungary in July, offering financial rewards
for information leading to the prosecution of Nazi war criminals.
The Wiesenthal Centre is also trying
to track Nazi-era crimes in several other countries, including
Austria, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.
An estimated 600,000 Hungarian Jews
were killed by German Nazis, as well as Hungary's collaborationist
regime, during World War II.
News.com. au, February 24, 2005