Ex-Nazi guard loses Canadian extradition appeal

Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:47pm EST
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Canada's highest court refused on Thursday to hear the appeal of a former Nazi guard fighting extradition to Italy, where he was convicted of war crimes in World War Two.

But Michael Seifert's attorney said he expected to make a final appeal to Canada's federal justice minister to review the case and allow the Ukrainian-born man to remain in the country.

Seifert, 83, who has lived in Canada since 1951, has acknowledged being a guard at a prison in Bolzano, Italy, that held Jews and others headed to German concentration camps, but denied he murdered anyone.

An Italian military court convicted him in absentia in 2000 of torturing and killing nine people, and sentenced him to life in prison. Press reports said Seifert and another guard were called "The Beasts of Bolzano."

Seifert appealed, saying Canadian courts that approved turning him over to Italian authorities had ignored legal weaknesses in the Italian trial. The Supreme Court of Canada refused to review the lower court's rulings.

Defense attorney Doug Christie expressed disappointment.

Extraditing Seifert would ignore the findings a Canadian judge in November in a related citizenship case that officials had not fully proved he was guilty of war crimes, Christie said.

"Nothing like this has ever happened before," he added.   Continued...