US appeals court denies stay of deportation of alleged Nazi guard Demjanjuk | World| Breakings news and perspectives from around the globe | DW | 01.05.2009
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US appeals court denies stay of deportation of alleged Nazi guard Demjanjuk

A US federal appeals court has again cleared the way for justice officials to deport alleged Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk to Germany to face 29,000 counts of accessory to murder.

Video still of Demjanjuk walking towards a car

Prosecutors presented judges with a video that showed Demjanjuk is able to walk

The three-judge panel of the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati denied a stay of deportation for the 89-year-old retired autoworker on Friday, rejecting Demjanjuk's lawyer's claims that he was too ill to stand trial.

"Based on the medical information before the court... the court cannot find that the petitioner's removal to Germany is likely to cause irreparable harm sufficient to warrant a stay of removal," the judges ruled. "His motion for a stay of removal pending review is denied."

The decision overturns an 11th-hour reprieve granted to Demjanjuk on April 14, when a federal appeals court gave the suspect a temporary stay of deportation shortly after immigration officials carried him out of his home in a wheelchair to be taken to a waiting flight.

The new decision can, however, be appealed. Spiegel Online reports that Demjanjuk's lawyer has already taken legal action against the German government in a bid to prevent his deportation from the United States.

German authorities first gave the green light for a Munich-based court to issue an arrest warrant for Demjanjuk on March 11.

However, his lawyer argues that German officials neglected to file an application for Demjanjuk's extradition and also failed to check whether he was fit enough to travel or stand trial.

Demjanjuk's lawyer maintains that his client is too ill to travel, despite a video filed by prosecutors last week which showed the alleged Nazi guard walking and talking animatedly.

His lawyer said Demjanjuk may be able to walk a few steps unassisted, but that medical evidence showed that arrest, incarceration and a possible trial would cause severe pain.

The US Justice Department accuses Demjanjuk of numerous delaying tactics, saying that reasons no longer existed for an emergency stay of deportation.

Demjanjuk is wanted in Germany on charges of being an accessory to the deaths of at least 29,000 Jews in concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II. Demjanjuk says he was a prisoner of war and not a camp guard.

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