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Woman Sent to Croatia for War Trial

November 2, 1998

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) _ The wife of the commander of Croatia’s worst Nazi-era concentration camp arrived in Croatia on Monday after being extradited from Argentina for alleged war crimes.

Nada Sakic, 76, looked frail as she got off a plane that flew her from Germany after an overnight flight from Argentina, where she and her husband had lived a low-key life for more than half a century.

Her husband, Dinko Sakic, was extradited from Argentina in June on suspicion of ordering and carrying out war crimes while he was commander of the Jasenovac concentration camp from 1942 to 1944. He is being held in a Zagreb prison.

Mrs. Sakic is accused of being a guard from 1942 to 1945 in the women’s block at the Stara Gradiska camp, part of the Jasenovac complex.

Tens of thousands of Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and antifascist Croats were killed at Jasenovac, the most notorious of more than 20 concentration camps run by Croatia’s World War II Nazi puppet state.

Mrs. Sakic was extradited on a warrant accusing her of ``carrying out torture, inhuman treatment of civilians, as well as terror, intimidation and collective punishment of civilians.″

Mrs. Sakic suffers from advanced Parkinson’s disease, so she will likely be moved to the prison’s hospital, said her Zagreb attorney, Branko Seric. He said she was ``ready to come and clarify her wartime role.″

Mrs. Sakic disembarked slowly Monday from the back door of the plane that flew her to Croatia, supported by two men in civilian clothing. Once on the runway, two policewomen escorted her to a van that took her to Zagreb prison.

The Sakics fled Croatia at the end of World War II and had lived in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, until April, when Dinko Sakic aroused international attention after appearing on Argentine television to talk about his wartime role.

Dinko Sakic, who faces a maximum 20 years in prison, contends those who died at the camp succumbed to disease and natural causes.

Nada Sakic was arrested in July in Argentina at the request of Yugoslav officials, who accused her of genocide.

Croatia then asked for her extradition, apparently to prevent her from being tried in Serb-dominated Yugoslavia, where she would face a tougher trial. The majority of victims at the camp were Serbs.

There is concern the Sakics may get a lenient trial in Croatia, where some are unwilling to accept that their compatriots participated in Nazi-era atrocities. But Croatian authorities say the trials will be fair and open to international observers.

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