Kalejs' extradition requested

  • 2000-12-14
  • TBT staff
RIGA - The Latvian Prosecutor General's office on Dec. 12 sent a request to Australian authorities for the extradition of alleged Nazi war criminal Konrads Kalejs, said Dzintra Subrovska, spokeswoman at the Prosecutor General's office. A warrant for the arrest of the 87-year-old Australian citizen of Latvian descent was issued more than a month ago. Subrovska recently said the delay between issuing the warrant and sending the request was due to the time needed to translate the relevant documents. Between 1942 and 1943, say prosecutors, Kalejs headed a guard unit at a Nazi-run camp at Salaspils, near Riga. He is charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed at the camp where thousands died.

In 1998 Australian authorities said there was insufficient evidence against Kalejs to press charges. Latvian prosecutors say they have since gathered significant material from - among other sources - KGB archives in Moscow. Kalejs was previously deported from the United States and Canada because in his immigration applications he failed to mention the fact that he was a lieutenant in the so-called Arajs Commando, a Nazi-sponsored Latvian unit responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews, Roma and communists following the Nazi occupation of the region.

In 1993 the hearing in the United States which authorized Kelejs' extradition heard that he possessed considerable wealth. This and Kalejs' recent occupancy of an expensive retirement home in the English midlands suggests he has considerable financial resources to draw on in fighting what could be a long extradition battle.