US judge clears way for deportation of Nazi guard

April 7th, 2009 - 12:02 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 6 (DPA) A US judge Monday cleared the way for John Demjanjuk, a war-crimes suspect from the Nazi era, to be deported to Germany.
The US Immigration Court in Arlington, Virginia, lifted a stay on the deportation that it had issued Friday.

The court declaration means Demjanjuk could be deported as early as Wednesday, but his lawyers could still seek a further stay.

Demjanjuk, who turned 89 Friday, had filed a last-minute emergency court motion to stop his deportation, arguing that he was too ill to travel and stand trial. His bid to stay in the US was to avoid likely prosecution for his role in the murder of 29,000 Jews.

His German lawyer and family say he suffers from kidney stones and a bone marrow disease.

German evidence suggests that Demjanjuk, then 23, was a Nazi guard at Sobibor concentration camp, at a location that is now part of Poland, from March till the end of September 1943. He apparently worked at the camp while at least 29,000 Jews were put to death there.

After World War II he lived in Germany as a refugee. In 1952 he changed his first name from Ivan to John and moved to the US.

Demjanjuk was acquitted in 1993 by the Israeli Supreme Court of charges that he worked at a different death camp, Treblinka, saving him from the death sentence of a lower court.

Munich prosecutors issued a warrant three weeks ago for the arrest of the Ukrainian-born man, who has been stripped on his US citizenship and is now stateless.

Washington cannot prosecute him over the allegations, but has been eager to expel the former US car worker.

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