CLEVELAND – The family of accused concentration camp guard John Demjanjuk said Tuesday that he has asked a federal appeals court in Ohio to block his deportation to Germany while he seeks to have his case reviewed.
The filing at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati would set up another venue where Demjanjuk, an 89-year-old retired auto worker who lives in suburban Cleveland can try to reopen the U.S. case that ordered him deported and show that he is too sick to travel.
"Again, he will stand trial for his life — not this time by hanging but by the cruel and inhumane condition of transport and the stress of arrest, confinement and trial of this now 89 year old man who is in poor health," the motion says.
German prosecutors claim Demjanjuk was an accessory to some 29,000 deaths during World War II at the Sobibor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. Once in Germany, he could be formally charged in court.
The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk had been tried in Israel after accusations surfaced that he was the notorious Nazi guard "Ivan the Terrible" in Poland at the Treblinka death camp. He was found guilty in 1988 of war crimes and crimes against humanity, a conviction later overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court.
Guenther Maull, a Munich-based lawyer for Demjanjuk said earlier Tuesday that his client could arrive in Germany on Wednesday.
The Board of Immigration Appeals in Falls Church, Virginia, on Friday denied his motion for an emergency stay.
The U.S. Justice Department has opposed his previous appeals.
Demjanjuk has denied being a Nazi guard, long claiming he was a prisoner of war of the Germans. He came to the United States after the war as a refugee.
A U.S. judge revoked his citizenship in 2002, based on Justice Department evidence showing he concealed his service at Sobibor and some other Nazi-run death and forced labor camps. An immigration judge ruled in 2005 he could be deported to Germany, Poland or Ukraine.
His family has said he is in constant pain from several ailments and that being deported to Germany amounts to torture.