29 November 2010
The Serbian government has requested from Washington the extradition of a Yugoslav-born US citizen accused of committing genocide and other crimes as a Nazi officer during World War II. Serbia's justice minister last week formally requested the extradition of Peter Egner, 86, who lives in near Seattle. Egner is accused of joining in April 1941 the Nazi-controlled Security Police and Security Service in German-occupied Belgrade, a Nazi mobile killing unit that participated in the mass murder of more than 17,000 Serbian civilians during World War II. Egner came to the United States in 1960 and became a citizen six years later.
The US Justice Department filed a lawsuit in 2008 attempting to strip Egner of his citizenship, saying he lied about his Nazi past on his citizenship application. Egner has admitted volunteering to serve in the Security Police and Security Service as well as guarding prisoners as they were being transferred to concentration camps. He also admitted serving as an interpreter during interrogations of political prisoners, which sometimes involved severe torture. Prisoners often were executed following their interrogations. Belgrade’s war crimes prosecutor has said that he wants Egner to be tried in Serbia.
Meanwhile, the trial in Munich, Germany of John [Ivan] Demjanuk who stands accused of helping to murder at least 27,000 Jews and others in the Nazi death camp Sobibor during World War II, is set to last at least until March 2011. Last week, a doctor testified before the court that Demjanjuk was receiving better care in a prison hospital than he did in the US and that his health had "not significantly changed" since his trial began in November 2009.
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