Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Extradition of Nazi is 'cruel and unusual,' lawyer says

A former SS guard, Michael Seifert, nicknamed "the Beast of Bolzano," lost his appeal last week to stay in Canada to avoid serving a life sentence in an Italian prison.

During World War Two, the 83-year-old East Vancouver resident served at an Italian transit camp in Bolzano where Jews were held before being deported to death camps.

In 2000, an Italian court convicted Seifert on charges that he murdered, raped and tortured Jews at the camp and have been trying to extradite him since.

The Globe and Mail reported that at the trial seven years ago, witnesses testified that he "beat prisoners before shooting them, starved a 15-year-old prisoner to death and gouged out a person's eyes."

Thankfully, the B.C. court has denied his appeal to remain in Canada.

Seifert's lawyer, Doug Christie, is working to stop his extradition and said he will file an appeal with the Supreme Court.

While every Canadian has the right to defend oneself against any allegation, what is most disturbing is the language that Christie uses to defend his client.

Here's what he said to The Globe and Mail:

"It strikes me as cruel and unusual, no matter what you think of the facts, that an 83-year-old man would be incarcerated after 60 years of impeccable and commendable behaviour."

Here's another gem:

"If he dies in his home, he dies where he wants to. If he dies in an Italian jail, it does nothing for anybody except vengeance for a few people, and vengeance, as far as I am concerned, has never been justice."

Apparently, during the ruling last Friday, he even accused former federal justice minister Irwin Cotler of being biased. Seifert's lawyers suggested that Cotler upheld the ruling that would have Seifert deported to Italy because he supports Jewish organizations.

Although it is human nature to feel compassion for the elderly, justice has to be served for the millions of people who were tortured at the hands of Nazi criminals who have had the luxury of living freely in Canada and elsewhere.

1 comment:

Blintzkrieg said...

The sad part is, there were, and still are, many Nazi and Nazi collaborators living in Canada and abroad who will never see justice done to them.