Laszlo Csatary was charged with 'unlawful torture of human beings,' after a Jewish organization alerted Hungarian officials of his Nazi involvement.
97-year-old Hungarian man suspected of abusing Jews and helping deport thousands of them during the Holocaust was taken into custody Wednesday, questioned and charged with war crimes, prosecutors said.
The case of Laszlo Csatary was brought to the attention of Hungarian authorities last year by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish organization active in hunting down Nazis who have yet to be brought to justice.
In April, Csatary topped the organization's list of most-wanted Nazi war criminals.
Prosecutors decided to charge Csatary with the "unlawful torture of human beings," a war crime that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Csatary's lawyer, Gabor Horvath B., said that a judge, acting on a request from prosecutors, ordered his client to be confined to house arrest for a maximum of 30 days. Horvath B. said he had appealed the ruling, which also opened the way for authorities to confiscate Csatary's passport.
As he left a Budapest courthouse Wednesday afternoon following the house arrest hearing, Csatary walked slowly down a flight of steps, leaning on a companion for support. He wore a thin jacket and tried to cover his face from photographers and TV crews. He did not speak with reporters but appeared bewildered by the attention.
Tibor Ibolya, Budapest's acting chief prosecutor, said Csatary recounted his Holocaust-era activities to authorities during questioning, saying he was following orders and carrying out his duty.
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