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Nazi war criminal fights extradition to Italy
TORONTO (AFP) - A convicted Nazi war criminal asked a British Columbia court to halt a hearing on his extradition to Italy, a government spokeswoman said.
Michael Seifert, a 79-year-old Ukrainian, was sentenced to life imprisonment by an Italian court in November 2000.
He was charged there with 18 counts of murder and acts of torture committed 1944-1945 at a Nazi camp in the northern Italian city of Bolzano.
Seifert, also known as Misha, was arrested on an extradition warrant in May 2002. He was released later that month by a judge who said he had led an exemplary life since coming to Canada in 1951.
"We heard arguments (on Thursday) in support of an application for a stay of proceedings on abuse of process and for the right for Mr. Seifert to call Italian witnesses to establish misconduct by the Italian government," said Lyse Cantin, a spokeswoman for British Columbia's justice department.
"Judge (Selwyn) Romily said he expected to have a decision on these issues by the end of the next week," she added.
After the judge's decision, the two sides will return to court on June 30 to argue the constitutional validity of two provisions in Canada's Extradition Act.
Seifert's defense will argue that one section of the act is unconstitutional because he was guilty of conduct that took place prior to the act or relative treaty.
They will also argue against another section allowing a person to be extradited after being convicted in absentia, Cantin noted.
A judge declared Seifert mentally fit to face his extradition trial in April.
Some 11,000 Jews, political prisoners, partisans and army deserters were held at the Bolzano camp during the occupation of northern Italy by German troops during World War II.