Prosecution appeals Demjanjuk court verdict

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German prosecutors said Monday they were appealing a court decision condemning former Nazi camp guard John Demjanjuk to five years imprisonment for assisting in the killing of almost 30,000 Jews.

They also appealed the judge's decision to release the 91-year-old pending the result of his own appeal of Thursday's court verdict, Barbara Stockinger, spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office in the southern city of Munich, told AFP.

"Grounds for the appeal will be given once written notice" of the court decision has been received, she added.

The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, who has served two years in prison in Munich after being extradited from the United States, was ordered released by the judge because of his age and because he no longer presents a danger to society.

The fact that he is now stateless, having been deprived of his US citizenship for lying about his past when applying to immmigrate to America, also means he cannot leave Germany to escape justice, the judge said.

German newspapers said Demjanjuk has been taken to an old people's home.

He was found guilty of helping the Nazis gas thousands of Jews while serving as a guard at the Sobibor extermination camp in German-occupied Poland during Wold War II. Demjanjuk had denied the charges.

While there was no direct evidence of his presence or actions at the camp, the court said it believed he had served there as a guard, and was therefore automatically implicated in killings carried out there at the time.

© 2011 AFP

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