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Hungary indicts Nazi-era suspect for war crimes

Laszlo Csatary is accused of abusing Jews.

Laszlo Csatary is accused of abusing Jews.

BUDAPEST — Hungarian prosecutors indicted a 98-year-old former police officer Tuesday for abusing Jews and assisting in their deportation to Nazi death camps during World War II.

They said Laszlo Csatary was chief of an internment camp for 12,000 Jews at a brick factory in Kosice in May 1944, and that he beat them with his bare hands and a dog whip.

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He also allegedly refused to allow ventilation holes to be cut into the walls of a railcar crammed with 80 Jews being deported.

With his actions, Csatary ‘‘willfully assisted in the unlawful execution and torture of the Jews deported from [Kosice] to concentration camps in territories occupied by the Germans,’’ the prosecution said in a statement.

Csatary, who has denied the charges, was first detained by Hungarian authorities in July 2012 after his case was made public by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish organization active in hunting down Nazis.

Bettina Bagoly, a spokeswoman for the Budapest investigative prosecutors’ office, said that since Csatary has been charged with war crimes, the case is considered to be of special importance.

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