Hungarian police detained suspected war criminal László Csatáry on Wednesday, July 18, the AP newswire reported, citing the Hungarian Prosecutor's Office. Before his detention, the head of the Jerusalem-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre (SWC), Ephraim Zuroff, had appealed to Hungarian President János Áder to help ensure Csatáry was put before a court, the TASR newswire wrote.
The Sme daily reported on Wednesday that a British journalist had found Csatáry in a flat in Budapest on Sunday, July 15, but that he was not there when Hungarian police visited the next day. Csatáry is suspected of having been involved in the deportation of 15,700 Jews in 1944 from the city of Košice, which was then known as Kassa and administered as part of Hungary. On Thursday, Sme wrote that the Slovak Justice Ministry was involved in the case because a Košice court sentenced him to death in 1948 in absentia. The Slovak General Prosecutor’s Office is prepared to act as well: In March, it provided the Hungarian side with a copy of the criminal file.
The Hungarian newswire MTI wrote, as quoted by TASR, that the Budapest Prosecutor’s Office interrogated Csatáry on suspicion of war crimes. Csatáry, now 97, was a police officer during the war and acted as commander of a deportation camp. After the war, he fled to Canada but was identified and stripped of his Canadian citizenship in 1997.
TASR quoted the Hungarian daily Népszabadság as reporting that Csatáry had denied committing any crimes and saying that in 1944 he had only obeyed orders and fulfilled his duties.
Sources: AP, TASR, Sme
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
19. Jul 2012 at 10:00