Top Nazi war crimes suspect Hungarian Laszlo Csatari dead

Top Nazi war crimes suspect Hungarian Laszlo Csatari dead

BUDAPEST - Agence France-Presse
Top Nazi war crimes suspect Hungarian Laszlo Csatari dead

Picture taken on July 18, 2012 shows Laszlo Csatari, leaving the courthouse in Budapest. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEK

Laszlo Csatari, a 98-year-old Hungarian who topped the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of alleged Nazi war criminals, has died in hospital, his lawyer said Monday.

"He died on Saturday morning, he had been treated for medical issues for some time but contracted pneumonia, from which he died," lawyer Gabor Horvath said.

Csatari was alleged to have been actively involved in the deportations of thousands of Jews to death camps in World War II from a town in present-day Slovakia.

After being sentenced to death in absentia in 1948 he made it to Canada where he lived and worked as an art dealer before being stripped of his citizenship in the 1990s.

He returned to Hungary where he lived until prosecutors began investigating his case in late 2011 on the basis of information from the Wiesenthal Center.

In June Hungarian prosecutors charged him, saying he was "actively involved in and assisted the deportations" in 1944 of Jews from a ghetto in Kassa, now known as Kosice.

The former police officer "regularly beat the interned Jews with his bare hands and whipped them with a dog-whip without any special reasons, regardless of their sex, age or health," prosecutors said.

At a hearing behind closed doors in Budapest, he denied all accusations. He had been under house arrest ever since.

The case described above was however suspended on July 8 on grounds of double jeopardy, that Csatari has already been convicted of the charges presented in the case.