February 24, 2005 from Agence France Presse
  Hungary hunts war crimes suspect

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 II.

"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 and jailed.

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