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Germany

Alleged Nazi war criminal threatens hunger strike over excluded evidence

John Demjanjuk, accused of helping to murder 27,900 Jews as a Nazi death camp guard, has said he will go on a hunger strike if the Munich court trying him does not admit evidence he says will clear his name.

John Demjanjuk with a sign reading 1627

Demjanjuk wants Soviet file 1627 admitted into evidence

On what was expected to be the first day of closing arguments in his war crimes trial in Munich, accused Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk entered the courtroom holding a sign reading "1627." That is the number of the Soviet KGB file Demjanjuk will prove his innocence. In a statement read by his lawyer Ulrich Busch, the 90-year-old said on Tuesday that he would go on a hunger strike if the evidence was not admitted.

The judges said the evidence was irrelevant to the case.

Demjanjuk is accused of helping to murder 27,900 Jews while working as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland during the Holocaust and faces 15 years in prison if convicted. He denies ever having worked there.

"There is only one path open to me: to show the world what a mockery of justice this trial is," Demjanjuk said in his statement.

Repeated delays

Prosecutors were due to begin their closing arguments on Tuesday, but the trial was delayed when Busch entered a series of motions. The trial has been stalled several times when Demjanjuk refused to attend court for health reasons, despite being declared fit by doctors. He has attended court either in a wheelchair or on a stretcher.

The accused was born in Ukraine and fought with Soviet forces in World War II before being captured by the Nazis. The prosecution has argued he then volunteered to work as a guard.

In the 1950s he moved to the US, where he lived until he was deported to Germany in 2009.

Author: Holly Fox (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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