Croatian court overturns 1946 verdict against cardinal

A Croatian court has annulled a 1946 verdict against a Catholic cardinal who had been convicted by the postwar Communist authorities of collaborating with the pro-Nazi puppet regime during World War II.

The official Hina news agency says the Zagreb Country Court Friday overturned the treason conviction against Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison sentence and forced labor.

Stepinac is considered a hero by many Croats but is accused by Serbs and Jews of sympathizing with the Ustasha authorities that orchestrated the killings of tens of thousands in Croatian concentration camps.

Friday's ruling likely will fuel tensions in relations with neighboring Serbia, which considers Stepinac as a war criminal. The Serbian Orthodox Church has protested plans for Stepinac's canonization.