Court rules Demjanjuk can be removed from US

Updated at 10:31 am on 2 May 2009

A US federal court has denied former Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk's latest attempt to block extradition to Germany to face charges of aiding in the wartime murder of thousands of Jews.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department declined to comment on when Mr Demjanjuk would be deported but said the government would continue to seek his removal to Germany.

His son said the family is considering an appeal to the US Supreme Court and has also filed a lawsuit in Germany seeking an emergency stay.

The decision is the latest development in a decades-long saga over the elder Demjanjuk's wartime actions.

In a dramatic twist last month, the octogenarian won an 11th-hour reprieve when the court stayed his deportation shortly after he was carried out of his Cleveland, Ohio home in a wheelchair to be put on a flight to Munich.

The appeals court on Friday rejected an argument by Mr Demjanjuk's lawyer that his client is in such poor health that jailing and trying him in Germany would cause him pain amounting to torture.

Born in Ukraine in 1920, John Demjanjuk was a soldier in the Red Army when he was captured by the Nazis in the spring of 1942.

He was trained at Treblinka in Nazi-occupied Poland and served two years in the camps of Sobibor and Majdanek, also in occupied Poland, and in Flossenburg in Bavaria, southern Germany.

He has always insisted he was forced to work for the Nazis and had been mistaken by survivors for other cruel guards.

He immigrated to the United States in 1952 with his family, settling in Ohio, where he found work in the car industry.

Condemned to death in Israel in 1988 after he was convicted of being the sadistic "Ivan the Terrible", the verdict was overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court because of doubts about his identity.

He was returned to the United States over strenuous objections from Holocaust survivors and Jewish groups, who argued there was sufficient evidence that he served as a death camp guard to warrant another trial.

In 1999, the US government filed new charges using fresh evidence that surfaced following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and he was stripped of his US citizenship in 2002.

Germany issued a warrant for his arrest on 11 March on charges of assisting in the murder of 29,000 Jews.

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