Ex-Nazi guard gets stay of deportation from US

15th April 2009, Comments 1 comment

An ailing Demjanjuk had been carried from his yellow brick home in a wheelchair by five US agents and local media reported he was bound for a local airport and a flight to Germany.

Seven Hills -- A US court Tuesday granted former Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk an 11th-hour stay of deportation shortly after he was taken from his Ohio home to be flown to Germany for trial.

Demjanjuk, 89, had earlier Tuesday petitioned the US federal appeals court in his latest bid to block his extradition to Germany where he faces trial on charges of aiding the murder of at least 29,000 Jews during World War II.

"The petitioner's motion for a stay of removal is granted, pending further consideration of the matters presented by the petition and motion," the court said in its order.

An ailing Demjanjuk had been carried from his yellow brick home in a wheelchair by five US agents and local media reported he was bound for a local airport and a flight to Munich in southern Germany.

A spokeswoman for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to say whether Demjanjuk would be detained or returned to his Seven Hills, Ohio home.

"Following an order by a US Immigration Judge to remove John Demjanjuk, the US government has been working closely with the government of Germany to effectuate Demjanjuk's removal from the United States," Pat Reilly said.

"US Immigration and Customs Enforcement will have no further comment until that has occurred."

It was the latest twist in a long saga for Demjanjuk who narrowly escaped being hanged for war crimes in Israel and has spent years in court fighting to keep the US citizenship he obtained in 1958.

The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk is accused of having voluntarily served the Nazis at the Sobibor and Majdanek concentration camps in Poland in 1943, and of aiding the extermination of at least 29,000 Jews.

Former wartime inmates of Nazi camps in occupied Poland identified Demjanjuk -- who changed his name from Ivan when he emigrated to the United States in 1952 -- as the notorious Ukrainian prison guard "Ivan the Terrible" during a 1977 US Justice Department investigation.

Demjanjuk was sentenced to death by a court in Israel in 1988, but his conviction was overturned five years later by Israel's Supreme Court after statements from other former guards identified another man as the sadistic "Ivan."

He was returned to the United States despite strenuous objections from Holocaust survivors and Jewish groups who said he should be retried based on the ample evidence that he was a guard at several camps.

Demjanjuk regained his US citizenship, which was first stripped in 1981, after an appeals court ruled in 1998 the government recklessly withheld exculpatory evidence.

The US government filed new charges a year later using fresh evidence that surfaced following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

He was again stripped of his US citizenship in 2002 but remained in Ohio long after his appeals of that decision were exhausted because the United States could not find a country willing to accept the now-stateless alleged war criminal.

The latest legal battle has dragged on for more than a month since Germany issued a warrant for Demjanjuk's arrest on March 11.

Demjanjuk's lawyer has argued the octogenarian is in poor health, and that jailing and trying him in Germany would cause him pain amounting to torture. His family says he suffers from kidney disease and blood disorders, local US media reported.

Local Ohio channel 3 news said Demjanjuk had spoken to a priest to hear his confession just before he was taken away with a thick black electronic tracking bracelet around his ankle.

His options appeared to run out on Friday when the immigration appeals board rejected his petition for a stay of extradition.

On Tuesday Demjanjuk had sought the protection of a US federal appeals court in his latest bid to block his expulsion to Germany.

"We have filed a petition for review in the court of appeals and motion for a stay in the court of appeals this morning Tuesday," lawyer John Broadley told AFP earlier.

Broadley and Demjanjuk's family did not immediately return request for comments following his removal.

AFP/Expatica

1 Comment To This Article

  • brerWulf posted:

    on 15th April 2009, 21:02:34 - Reply

    'Comment removed: racist remarks can be liable to prosecution'.