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cleveland.com | 09Jun2011 | Associated Press
German court denies
extradite John Demjanjuk to Spain
BERLIN -- A Munich court has denied Spain’s request to extradite John
Demjanjuk to stand trial in Madrid on war crimes charges, questioning
the evidence presented in the indictment against the former Seven Hills
autoworker and Spain’s jurisdiction, a spokeswoman said today.
was convicted in Germany May 12 of 28,060 counts of accessory to murder
after a Munich court found he served as a guard at the Nazi’s Sobibor
death camp in occupied Poland and sentenced to five years in prison.
Demjanjuk, 91, denies serving as a guard at any camp and is currently
free pending his appeal.
During the trial, witness Alex Nagorny testified that he served as a
guard with Demjanjuk in a different camp -- Flossenbuerg in southern
Nagorny told the court that he also shared an apartment with Demjanjuk
in Landshut, Germany, after the war. But he could not identify
Demjanjuk in the courtroom, telling judges the man on trial was
“definitely not him.”
Still, Spanish National Court Judge Ismael Moreno indicted Demjanjuk in
January on charges of accessory to genocide and crimes against humanity
related to Flossenbuerg, saying that 155 Spaniards were held there and
But in its ruling, which spokeswoman Margarete Noetzel said was made
May 31, 2011, the Munich state court said Spanish authorities did not
answer two requests for details of how those people died and when, and
that without that information it could not determine whether Demjanjuk
could have been involved.
It also questioned Spain’s jurisdiction, saying that the alleged crimes
had been committed in Germany, and added it could not extradite someone
for crimes for which the statute of limitations in Germany had expired.
In Demjanjuk’s German trial there was no evidence presented linking him
to a specific murder at Sobibor, but in a precedent-setting decision
the court ruled his presence alone at the death camp -- whose sole
purpose was killing -- was enough to convict him of accessory to murder.
Flossenbuerg, however, was a concentration camp where many prisoners
were used for forced labor. Though thousands were killed or died there
amid deplorable conditions, the Munich court said concentration camp
guards might not have been actively involved, so couldn’t be charged
with accessory to murder.
“The service as a guard alone in a concentration camp, which was not a
so-called death camp, is not enough,” the court ruled.
Demjanjuk’s son, John Demjanjuk Jr., said he had expected the
“This was the end of another flash-in-the-media-pan attempt to
influence public opinion against my father without any basis,” he said
in an email to The Associated Press. “When the Germans asked for
evidence, the Spaniards showed up empty handed.”