Former Nazi guard John Demjanjuk - nicknamed 'Ivan the Terrible' - will not be deported to Germany, where he is accused of assisting in the murders of thousands of Jews in the Holocaust, until his appeal against his extradition is decided in the US.
AFP - Suspected Nazi guard John Demjanjuk can remain in the United States while an immigration court considers his appeal against extradition to Germany, US officials said Wednesday.
"It is a subject for the courts at this point," said Pat Reilly, a spokeswoman for US Immigration and Customs and Enforcement.
"When he is removable - when he no longer has legal recourse - we will remove him."
Demjanjuk, who changed his name from Ivan to John after emigrating to the United States in 1952 and who some believe is the brutal Nazi death camp guard nicknamed "Ivan the Terrible."
He is wanted in Germany on charges of assisting in the murders of thousands of Jews at Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.
He was stripped of his US citizenship in 2008 and last month American officials began the process of extraditing the now-stateless Demjanjuk to Germany to stand trial for crimes allegedly committed more than 60 years ago.
Last week, his lawyer won him a stay of deportation while immigration officials debated whether or not to reopen the Ukrainian-born former auto worker's "removal" case.
John Broadley had argued that the octogenarian was in poor health, and that jailing and trying him in Germany would cause him pain amounting to torture.
But the brief stay was overturned Monday by immigration judge Wayne Iskra, who reasoned that jurisdiction over the motion to bar Demjanjuk's deportation did not lie with the immigration court but with the board of appeals.
Broadley filed an emergency motion with the board of appeals to stay the deportation on Tuesday, hours before the temporary stay was set to expire.
"We'll file a response and see what happens from there," Laura Sweeney, a spokeswoman for the US Department of Justice, told AFP.
German prosecutors issued a warrant last month for Demjanjuk's arrest, accusing him of complicity in the murder of at least 29,000 Jews at Sobibor death camp, where he served between March and September 1943.
Around a quarter of a million Jews died at Sobibor from spring 1942 until October 1943, in which hundreds of prisoners managed to escape.
US investigators have brought together witnesses who described how Demjanjuk was seen at Sobibor, kicking Jews or hitting them with his rifle butt to herd them out of railway wagons and into the gas chambers more quickly.
The Office for Special Investigations (OSI) in the United States has described Sobibor "as close an approximation of Hell as has ever been created on this planet."
Former wartime inmates of Nazi camps in occupied Poland in 1977 identified Demjanjuk as brutal Ukrainian prison guard "Ivan the Terrible" during a US Justice Department investigation.
Demjanjuk was sentenced to death by a court in Israel, but the penalty was overturned five years later by Israel's Supreme Court after statements from other former guards identified another man as the sadistic "Ivan."
Date created : 2009-04-08