Hungarian Charged with Nazi-Era War Crimes ; Suspect, 98, Is Accused of Assisting in 'Executions and Tortures' of Jews

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The suspect, Laszlo Csatary, 98, has topped the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of most-wanted Nazi-era war criminals for years.

Prosecutors in Budapest filed war crimes charges on Tuesday against a 98-year-old Hungarian, accusing him of regularly beating Jewish men, women and children under his supervision and actively assisting in the deportation of almost 12,000 Hungarian Jews to Nazi death camps in the final years of World War II.

The suspect, Laszlo Csatary, has topped the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of most-wanted Nazi-era war criminals for years. Mr. Csatary was charged with having "intentionally assisted the unlawful executions and tortures committed against Jewish people" through his role of helping deport Jews from the ghetto in Kassa, now called Kosice, in eastern Slovakia, said Tibor Ibolya, a prosecutor in Budapest.

The charges against Mr. Csatary coincide with mounting pressure on Prime Minister Viktor Orban's conservative government over recent changes to the Hungarian Constitution that, among other things, altered the role of the judiciary and rolled back protections on human rights while raising the protection of the "dignity of the Hungarian nation." Two European bodies are to decide this month whether to impose sanctions against the country for violating European law.

There has also been a struggle in recent years over who defines the narrative of the country's role in World War II, with Hungarian fascists receiving public praise while the influence of the far- right opposition party Jobbik grows. …