Wiesenthal Center Urges Immediate Extradition of Wanted Nazi Revealed
in Good Health in Austria
Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today urged Austria to immediately
extradite wanted Croatian Nazi war criminal Milivoj Ašner, who
has been living in Klagenfurt since shortly after his exposure
by the Wiesenthal Center as part of its “Operation: Last Chance”
project on June 30, 2004. Ašner, who served as the Ustasha police
chief of Požega during World War II and orchestrated the destruction
of the local Serb, Jewish and Gypsy communities, is wanted for
war crimes in his native Croatia but his extradition has hereto
been blocked by the Austrian authorities on medical grounds. Today
the British daily The Sun published photos, and made available
video clips to the Center’s chief Nazi-hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff,
which clearly prove that Ašner is in good health, lucid, and able
to get about on his own, as he mingled with throngs of football
fans in Klagenfurt for the Euro 2008 matches.
In a letter sent today by Zuroff to Austrian
Justice Minister Dr. Maria Berger, the Center called upon the
Austrian judicial authorities to expedite the case and thereby
facilitate Ašner ‘s prosecution at long last.
According to Zuroff:
||“The photos, and video clips also made available to this office, make it abundantly
clear that Ašner is in good health, lucid and able to get
around on his own, in contradiction to the finding of an
Austrian court which ruled that he cannot be extradited to
stand trial in Croatia due to ill health.
Under these circumstances, there is absolutely no justification
for the continued refusal to extradite this wanted Nazi war
criminal to the country where he committed his nefarious
crimes, so that he can finally be held accountable for the
hundreds of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies whom he deported to Ustasha
concentration camps, where the majority were brutally murdered.
Since your appointment as justice minister, there has been
a slight improvement in Austria’s handling of Nazi war crimes
cases, but much remains to be done if your country is to
finally disprove its reputation as a paradise for Holocaust
perpetrators. The immediate extradition of former Ustasha
police chief Ašner would be a very welcome and major step
in that direction."
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