Hungary’s Sandor Kepiro, until recently the world’s most wanted Nazi war crimes suspect, died Saturday in Budapest aged 97, said his family, cited by the Hungarian news agency MTI.
Kepiro was suspected of ordering the execution of over 30 Jews and Serbs in the Serbian town of Novi Sad in January 1942, but was cleared in July by a Budapest court.
Until his trial, the former Hungarian gendarmerie captain had topped the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of most wanted Nazi war criminals.
The court in Budapest however freed him on July 18 following a two-month trial that rested heavily on evidence from old documents and testimonies.
The prosecution, which had demanded at least a prison sentence, later said it would appeal the court’s verdict.
Kepiro had already been found guilty of the crimes in Novi Sad twice in the 1940s but avoided prison by fleeing to Argentina in 1944, where he remained for half a century before returning to Budapest in 1996, where he was tracked down by Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff.
Visibly weakened at his trial, Kepiro, who always insisted on his innocence, had been in hospital since July.