Boston Herald | 07Apr2009 | Associated Press
John Demjanjuk tries again to
CLEVELAND (AP) — The deportation of alleged Nazi death camp guard John
Demjanjuk should be blocked because forcing the frail 89-year-old to go
to Germany would amount to torture, his attorney said in a court filing
John Broadley, the attorney for the retired auto worker from Seven
Hills in suburban Cleveland, asked the Board of Immigration Appeals in
Falls Church, Va., to block his client's deportation and reopen a U.S.
case that has ordered Demjanjuk deported.
Germany had wanted Demjanjuk (pronounced dem-YAHN'-yuk) in the country
Monday. But a U.S. immigration judge Friday agreed to temporarily halt
his removal from the United States, then revoked that decision Monday.
The stay expires Wednesday.
Demjanjuk is accused in a German arrest warrant of 29,000 counts of
acting as an accessory to murder at the Sobibor death camp in
Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943. He has denied involvement in any deaths.
The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk came to the United States after World War
II as a refugee.
In Germany, Demjanjuk would have a chance to respond to the allegations
before a judge in Munich. German prosecutors are making their case
based largely on evidence used in the United States to strip Demjanjuk
of his citizenship in 2002.
In a three-page signed statement last week, Demjanjuk asked for asylum
in the U.S. and said deporting him "will expose me to severe physical
and mental pain that clearly amount to torture under any reasonable
definition of the term."
He said he suffers severe spinal, hip and leg pain and has a bone
marrow disorder, kidney disease, anemia, kidney stones, arthritis, gout
and spinal deterioration.
Broadley said a government physician examined Demjanjuk on Thursday to
determine his ability to travel and there was "dramatic evidence" of
his back pain. Broadley submitted a portion of the exam videotape to
the government on Friday as part of his argument against deportation.
The Justice Department responded by saying Demjanjuk's medical capacity
to stand trial abroad "is, of course, irrelevant in a removal
Demjanjuk first gained U.S. citizenship in 1958. But his citizenship
was revoked in 1981 when the Justice Department alleged he had served
the Nazis as the notorious Nazi guard "Ivan the Terrible" in Poland at
the Treblinka death camp.
He was extradited to Israel in 1986, and two years later he was found
guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He appealed, and
Israel's Supreme Court in 1993 ruled that Demjanjuk was not Ivan the
Terrible and allowed him to return to the United States.
His U.S. citizenship was restored in 1998. The Justice Department went
after his citizenship again, making a case that he had served at
Sobibor and other death or forced labor camps.