Canada extradites former Nazi prison guard to Italy

February 16th, 2008 - 3:37 pm ICT by admin  

Ottawa, Feb 16 (Xinhua) Canada has extradited a former Nazi guard to Italy. He was convicted for committing brutal crimes at an Italian prison camp during the World War II. Michael Seifert, 83, has spent years fighting his case at every level of the Canadian justice system. He lost the fight earlier this year when the Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal of an extradition order by a lower court.

Dubbed as the Beast of Bolzano, Seifert was an ethnic German born in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union. He moved to Canada in 1951 and worked as a mill worker in the province of British Columbia.

He was convicted in absentia in 2000 by a military tribunal on nine counts of murder committed while he was an SS guard at a prison transit camp in Bolzano in northern Italy.

He starved a 15-year-old prisoner to death, gouged out a person’s eyes, beat prisoners before shooting them and tortured a woman before killing her and her daughter, according to witnesses.

Seifert has acknowledged serving as a guard at the camp in 1944 and 1945, but denies any involvement in the atrocities.

Seifert was taken on a special military flight in Toronto Friday and he is expected to arrive in Italy Saturday, his lawyer told the media.

He would be taken to a military prison near Naples to begin serving his sentence. But he could eventually be allowed to serve his sentence on house arrest, an Italian prosecutor said.

The Canadian Jewish Congress has said that as many as 1,500 “Nazi enablers” came to Canada after the war and Seifert is one of only a few who have faced justice.

Seifert is only the second person convicted of crimes during the World War II ever to be extradited from Canada, according to the congress.

In May 1983, Albert Rauca was extradited to West Germany from Canada to stand trial for the murder of more than 11,500 Lithuanian Jews. He died in prison a few months later at the age of 75.

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