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Ann Widdecombe
The home secretary is not consistent
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Jack Straw
Deportation is in the public good
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Monday, 3 January, 2000, 19:06 GMT
Straw 'muddled' on deportation order

Ann Widdecombe wants a full statement from Mr Straw

The Conservatives have attacked the Home Secretary Jack Straw's provisional decision to have suspected war criminal Konrad Kalejs deported.

Mr Straw's shadow on the Opposition front bench, Ann Widdecombe, said the decision not to try Mr Kalejs in the UK for crimes against humanity was "extraordinarily muddled".

Mr Kalejs, an 86-year-old currently staying in a Leicestershire nursing home, is suspected of committing mass murder in Latvia during World War II.

Mr Kalejs denies being involved in war crimes
Miss Widdecombe has called for a full Commons statement on the issue and told the BBC Mr Straw's decision would leave a lot of people "scratching their heads".

She said: "We have General Pinochet very firmly treated and we have those who have themselves admitted spying in the Cold War let off completely.

"And now this man is given a sort of half-way house where we say we don't have enough evidence to condemn him but we do condemn him as far as deportation."

Miss Widdecombe said she personally "would like to see this man tried" but ultimately the decision would depend on the quality of the evidence against him, which she has not yet seen.

Australian trial unlikely

The Latvian-born Mr Kalejs is an Australian citizen who has already been deported from the US and Canada.

The Australian Government have already announced they are unlikely to try him should he return.

Campaigners seeking the trial of those suspected of committing genocide during World War II have already criticised Mr Straw's decision, calling it a missed opportunity for justice.

Labour MP David Winnick, a member of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee said: "If this person does make it back to Australia, I shall be writing to the Australian High Commissioner urging that urgent steps be taken in his country to investigate these allegations."

Mr Straw defended his move saying the police had pursued inquires "assiduously" and that there was no evidence to effect an arrest.

But he said he believed it would be in the public good to have Mr Kalejs deported.

An extradition notice has been served on Mr Kalejs by the Home Office against which he has a week to make an appeal.

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See also:
03 Jan 00 |  UK
Nazi suspect set to leave
03 Jan 00 |  UK
Konrad Kalejs: Target for Nazi hunters
29 Dec 99 |  UK
Police examine 'Nazi' war record

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