Suspected Nazi Demjanjuk loses extradition appeal

11th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Demjanjuk, who changed his name from Ivan to John after emigrating to the United States in 1952 and who some believe is the notorious Nazi death camp guard nicknamed "Ivan the Terrible," was stripped of his US citizenship in 2002.

Chicago -- Suspected Nazi John Demjanjuk on Friday lost his latest attempt to block extradition to Germany to face charges of helping murder Jews as a death camp guard.

His family said they would keep fighting to keep him in the United States.

"We will continue to do everything possible to stop this inhumane action," John Demjanjuk Jr. said in a statement.

"Due to his serious medical conditions, if he were to survive a deportation, there is zero chance he will be capable of enduring any legal process in Germany."

Demjanjuk, who changed his name from Ivan to John after emigrating to the United States in 1952 and who some believe is the notorious Nazi death camp guard nicknamed "Ivan the Terrible," was stripped of his US citizenship in 2002.

The former autoworker remained in his Seven Hills, Ohio home 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.

In March, German prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Demjanjuk, 89, accusing him of complicity in murdering at least 29,000 Jews at Sobibor death camp, where he allegedly worked between March and September 1943.

His lawyer won him a brief stay of deportation last week while immigration officials debated whether to reopen the Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk's "removal" case.

On Friday, the Board of Immigration Appeals denied his request for another deportation stay "because it does not appear they are going to grant the motion to reopen the case," Susan Eastwood, a spokesperson in the Executive Office for Immigration Review, told AFP.

The younger Demjanjuk said his family intends to appeal the BIA decision to the federal court's Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Demjanjuk's family has also filed motions in Germany requesting that the government reconsider its extradition request and arrest warrant.

Demjanjuk's lawyer has argued that the octogenarian is in poor health, and that jailing and trying him in Germany would cause him pain amounting to torture.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice declined to comment on Demjanjuk's latest appeal or indicate whether officials will attempt to extradite him before a decision is reached by the appeals court.

"Any response we may have will be in court," spokeswoman Laura Sweeney said.

"We can't comment on possible timing for any removal."

Former wartime inmates of Nazi camps in occupied Poland identified Demjanjuk as the brutal Ukrainian prison guard "Ivan" 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 and regained his citizenship, which was first stripped in 1981, but the government filed new charges in 1999 after fresh evidence surfaced following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Demjanjuk's son said the current case against his father is based upon the same flawed and false evidence that led to his acquittal in Israel.

"History will show that he was a victim of the Germans in 1942, a victim of Germany and the US Justice Department when he was extradited to Israel only to be acquitted and now once again a victim of the Germans in 2009."

AFP/Expatica

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