"Goodwill gesture" by Bahraini firm sets Indian laborers free

After six years of being stranded in Bahrain, roughly 100 laborers will be allowed to return home to India, the BBC reports. The workers, who were employed at the Nass Corporation until they quit in 2006, had been legally barred from leaving Bahrain because they terminated their contracts before the agreed upon date.

The company had accused the workers of "absconding from work" in 2006 after many of them left the company complaining of low wages.

The workers' visas were sponsored by the company, a requirement under Bahrain law for anyone leaving the country.

Nearly 400,000 Indians live and work in Bahrain and campaigners say many live in extreme poverty - they are often not paid the wages they are promised and their passports are taken away from them.

In 2009 Bahrain's own labour minister criticised the visa sponsor system, saying it was akin to slavery.

One of the laborers recently committed suicide by hanging himself from a palm tree in a public garden. He was the 26th Indian laborer who has committed suicide in Bahrain this year.

The Nass Corporation has reportedly agreed not to press charges against runaway workers in the future in exchange for being removed from an Indian government blacklist.

The headline in Bahrain's state-run Gulf Daily News was "Goodwill gesture by firm."  

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images


Accused Nazi war criminal arrested

Early this morning, Hungarian law enforcement detained accused Nazi war criminal Laszlo Csatary.  The judge in the case ordered him placed under house arrest.

Csatary was a commander for the Royal Hungarian police force in Kassa, in modern-day Slovakia, where he served as commander of the Jewish ghetto during the Second World War.  While in this capacity he was allegedly responsible for the deportation of 15,000 Jews to concentration camps. Csatary is also accused of assaulting prisoners.

In 1948, Csatary was convicted in absentia and sentenced to death in Czechoslovakia, but fled to Canada where he obtained citizenship. He remained there until 1997 when he escaped back to Hungary after his Canadian citizenship was revoked for providing false information to immigration authorities and deportation hearings were underway.

Csatary was identified and located by Hungarian authorities almost a year ago using information provided by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, but further investigation was required to make the arrest possible.  Csatary had been living in Budapest under his real name for 15 year.

The attention his identification drew forced Csatary to move apartments in the past year, according to his attorney, but authorities worried this might be an effort to evade capture.  During questioning, Csatary, who is now 97 years old, claimed innocence and insisted that he had only been carrying out orders.

In 2011, the Simon Wiesenthal Center reported that there are over 800 investigations underway and 21 new indictments filed against suspected Nazi war criminals in 2010.  Csatary was one of the top-ten most wanted.  Last year, Hungary arrested the top name on the most-wanted list, Sandor Kapiro, for his role in a massacre in Serbia during the War, but later acquitted him of all charges shortly before his death in September.  

If he is indicted, Csatary's trial would take place in Hungary and could involve testimony from survivors, if they can be located.