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Hungarian Jewish writer seeks asylum in Canada

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(MONTREAL) - Octogenarian Jewish writer Akos Kertesz of Hungary is seeking asylum in Canada because of a "political campaign" against him, sources close to him in this country confirmed Monday.

Kertesz, 80, winner of the Hungary's most prestigious literary prize the Kossuth, arrived with his wife in Montreal last Wednesday. Since then, he has curbed his availability to media so as not to influence his refugee bid, the source also said.

After Kertesz slammed wartime Hungary's role in the Holocaust in an article published last August, "a political campaign was mounted against him, not only by the Budapest city hall but also from within the government and parliament," a statement said Sunday.

"Following the political campaign by the pro-government press, Mr Kertesz suffered threats and harassment, he felt his life was in danger," it added.

It quoted Kertesz as saying: "I did not make my decision against Hungary or the Hungarian people but against the current government. I hope to be able to return again to a human and democratic Hungary."

The article, published by Amerikai Nepszava, a Hungarian-language newspaper in the United States, described wartime Hungarians as "genetically subservient" for their role in the Holocaust and slams them for failing to admit responsibility for the deaths of more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews.

Since Hungary "did not apologise, it will not receive absolution," he wrote.

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