CLEVELAND – John Demjanjuk, accused of being a Nazi death camp guard, marked his 89th birthday Friday by winning a reprieve of his ordered deportation to Germany to face possible trial.
His son, John Demjanjuk Jr., said an immigration judge issued the stay of a deportation that was expected to be issued during this weekend.
Germany says Demjanjuk had been expected there by Monday.
Demjanjuk, a retired auto worker who lives in the Cleveland suburb of Seven Hills, kept out of sight Friday, as he has for years. He has argued that his deportation would amount to torture, given his frail health.
A German arrest warrant issued in March accuses the Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk of 29,000 counts of acting as an accessory to murder at the Sobibor camp in occupied Poland during World War II.
In Germany, Demjanjuk would have a chance to respond to the allegations in the arrest warrant before a judge. He denies involvement in any deaths.
In a three-page signed statement, Demjanjuk asked earlier in the week 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."
"I am physically very weak and experience severe spinal, hip and leg pain, which limits mobility and causes me to require assistance to stand up and move about," the statement said. "Spending 8 to 12 hours in an airplane seat flying to Germany would be unbearably painful for me."
In the statement, Demjanjuk said he suffers from a bone marrow disorder, kidney disease, anemia, kidney stones, arthritis, gout and spinal deterioration.