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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

'Nazi guard' seized by US agents

BBC: "US immigration agents have detained an 89-year-old man at his Ohio home ahead of deportation to Germany to face trial for alleged Nazi war crimes.

John Demjanjuk is accused of being an accessory to the deaths of some 29,000 people at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in World War II. His family claim that Mr Demjanjuk, who was carried out of his home in a wheelchair, is too ill to be deported.

Lawyers for Mr Demjanjuk have filed an appeal against the deportation order. Mr Demjanjuk denies the charges against him, claiming that he was captured by the Germans in his native Ukraine during the war and kept as a prisoner of war.

He arrived in the US in 1952 as a refugee, settling in Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked in the automobile industry. In 1988, Mr Demjanjuk was sentenced to death in Israel for crimes against humanity after Holocaust survivors identified him as the notorious "Ivan the Terrible", a guard at the Treblinka death camp.

Israel's highest court later overturned his sentence and freed him, after newly unearthed documents from the former Soviet Union indicated that "Ivan the Terrible" had probably been a different man.

Mr Demjanjuk returned to the US, but in 2002 had his US citizenship stripped because of his failure to disclose his work at Nazi camps when he first arrived as a refugee.

In 2005, a US immigration judge ruled that he could be deported to Germany, Poland or Ukraine.

Germany issued a warrant for his arrest last month, and his family have been fighting to prevent him from being deported ever since"

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