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Sunday, 2 September, 2001, 17:32 GMT 18:32 UK
Gecas extradition decision 'made'
Antonas Gecas
Mr Gecas has suffered two strokes
Nazi hunters say they are disappointed by reports that a suspected war criminal may escape extradition because of ill-health.

Antonas Gecas, who has lived in Edinburgh for more than 50 years, is the subject of an extradition attempt by the Lithuanian authorities.

However, he has suffered two strokes this year and his condition was being assessed by independent experts before the Scottish Executive sanctioned, or otherwise, his extradition.

That medical report has now been passed to the executive and a spokesman said an announcement was expected later in the week.

In certain cases we are unsuccessful because of the medical situation of the suspects. These people don't deserve that good luck, but it does happen

Efrain Zuroff
Simon Wiesenthal Centre

But the Mail on Sunday newspaper has reported that a decision has already been made and that Mr Gecas will not be extradited.

The 85-year-old stands accused of murdering civilians, mostly Jews, while working in a Second World War police battalion in Lithuania.

Mr Gecas, who has previously worked for the coal board and helped run a guest house, has repeatedly denied committing war crimes.

Because of his ill-health he has spent much of the year in hospital and police have been unable to serve him with a warrant for his extradition.

Efrain Zuroff, of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, said he would be upset if the newspaper report proved to be true and Justice Minister Jim Wallace has decided against extradition.

He said: "In certain cases we are unsuccessful because of the medical situation of the suspects.

"These people don't deserve that good luck, but it does happen."

See also:

21 Aug 01 | Scotland
Doctor to examine war crimes suspect
15 Aug 01 | Scotland
Medical call in Gecas extradition
27 Jul 01 | Scotland
Gecas arrest warrant issued
04 Sep 01 | Scotland
War crimes suspect suffers stroke
02 May 01 | Scotland
Row over Gecas extradition delay
04 Mar 01 | Scotland
Gecas protests his innocence
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