US judge clears way for deportation of suspected Nazi war criminal | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 06.04.2009
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US judge clears way for deportation of suspected Nazi war criminal

A US immigration court has revoked the stay of deportation for accused Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk, who is facing war crimes charges in Germany. The decision opens the way for Demjanjuk to stand trial.

John Demjanjuk is questioned at an earlier trial

Demjanjuk changed his name from Ivan to John when he emigrated to the US after WWII

A stay of deportation would have prevented suspected Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk from being extradited to Germany. The ruling by the US Immigration Court in Arlington, Virginia, means that Demjanjuk can now be deported as early as Wednesday, although his lawyers can still seek another stay.

Demjanjuk, 89, had filed a last-minute emergency court motion to stop his deportation, arguing that he was too ill to make the journey to Germany and stand trial.

The court's decision has been welcomed by the World Jewish Congress based in New York. President Ronald Lauder said in a statement that Holocaust survivors demand justice.

"Demjanjuk may be old and frail," he said, "but so are many Holocaust survivors whose lives were destroyed by the likes of him."

"No Nazi war criminal still alive should feel safe anywhere in the world," he added.

Deportation would be "torture"

Demjanjuk claimed that his deportation would amount to torture because of his poor health. Over the weekend, a German official said his claim was an outrage.

Demjanjuk with Israeli guards during the legal process against him

Questions over his identity saved Demjanjuk from the death sentence in Israel

"That is cynical and absolutely intolerable," said Bavarian Justice Minister Beate Merk.

Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, who has been stripped of his US citizenship and is now stateless, is accused in a German arrest warrant of acting as an accessory to the murder of 29,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. Demjanjuk has denied any involvement in the deaths.

In 1988, Demjanjuk was sentenced to death by an Israeli court for being the guard dubbed "Ivan the Terrible" at the Treblinka death camp. The Israeli supreme court later ruled that Demjanjuk was not "Ivan," and he returned to the United States.

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