AFP - A US court Thursday postponed the deportation of former Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk for a week to give authorities time to prove the 89-year-old is fit enough to travel to Germany.
The court ordered that his deportation to Germany for trial on charges of aiding the deaths of at least 29,000 Jews in Polish concentration camps during World War II should be stayed until April 23.
It also called on the government to inform the court about its plans to transport Demjanjuk, who is said to suffer from a variety of illnesses.
The appeals court also demanded the state provide "the report of the doctor which forms the basis for its conclusion that the petitioner's medical condition is such that he is stable enough to travel safely."
Demjanjuk was granted an 11th-hour reprieve on Tuesday when the court granted his request for a stay of deportation shortly after he had been carried in a wheelchair out of his Ohio home to be taken to a waiting flight to Germany.
The court order extended for a week a fight that the 89-year-old former autoworker has waged for decades to avoid prosecution as a Nazi death camp guard who allegedly escorted Jews to the gas chamber during World War II.
"Just two days ago, the Department of Justice and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) were racing off to get my ill father on a plane which would have ended his appeals without a ruling," Demjanjuk's son John told AFP.
"While they raced to get him on a plane, causing him great pain and willing to risk his life in the air, we raced to the 6th Circuit (court of appeals) which then stopped them in their tracks," he said.
Demjanjuk's lawyer has argued that his client is in poor health, and that jailing and trying him in Germany would cause him pain amounting to torture.
His family says he is bedridden and suffers from a host of ailments including kidney disease, arthritis and cancer which makes him unfit to fly.
Demjanjuk's son accused the Justice Department of withholding evidence about his father's health from courts in Germany and the United States, "creating the false impression that my father is 'stable' enough for travel and legal proceedings in Germany."
Born in Ukraine in 1920, Demjanjuk was a soldier in the Red Army who was captured by the Nazis in the spring of 1942.
He was trained at Treblinka in occupied Poland and served two years in the camps of Sobibor and Majdanek in occupied Poland and Flossenburg in Bavaria.
Demjanjuk 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 auto industry.
Condemned to death in Israel in 1988, 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.
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 citizenship in 2002.
Germany issued a warrant for Demjanjuk's arrest on March 11.