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War criminal László Csatáry dies

László Csatáry, a war criminal from the Second World War, died at the age of 98 in a hospital in Budapest, Hungary, succumbing to pneumonia, Csatáry’s lawyer Gábor Horváth told the Hungarian daily Bors. With his death, all criminal hearings held in Slovakia and Hungary will stop, the TASR newswire reported on August 12.

László Csatáry, a war criminal from the Second World War, died at the age of 98 in a hospital in Budapest, Hungary, succumbing to pneumonia, Csatáry’s lawyer Gábor Horváth told the Hungarian daily Bors. With his death, all criminal hearings held in Slovakia and Hungary will stop, the TASR newswire reported on August 12.

Csatáry served as a commander in the Košice Jewish ghetto during WWII, and is suspected of assisting in the murder of as many as 15,700 Jews who were deported from Košice (then under Hungarian occupation, and known as Kassa) to concentration camps.

A Czechoslovak court sentenced him to death in absentia back in 1948. He fled to Canada and lived abroad, but the UK’s Sun newspaper tracked him down in Budapest in July 2012. The Košice Regional Court on January 31, 2013 changed his original death sentence to a life sentence.

According to the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Csatáry also played a key role in the deportation of 300 Košice inhabitants to Ukraine, where most of them were killed in summer 1941 in the town of Kamenyets Podilsky. He also faced charges for helping transport about 15,700 Jews to the concentration camp in Auschwitz in 1944.

The Košice court was to decide over the case and the prison into which Csatáry was to be placed at the end of September, TASR wrote.

In addition to Slovakia, Csatáry was also prosecuted in Hungary. The country’s Prosecutor’s Office charged him in mid June with war crimes dating back to WWII, saying he is accused of “illegal executions and torturing people, which he committed partially as a perpetrator and partially as an accomplice”, the Sme daily quoted Bettina Bagoly, a spokesperson of the Budapest Prosecutor’s Office, as saying.

According to Bors, several people living in Budapest had recognised Csatáry on the street and confronted him about his past, which allegedly contributed to the deterioration of his health in recent months, as reported by TASR.

Source: TASR, Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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