Accused Nazi Guard Won't Be Deported to Germany Yet, After Wheelchair Removal From Home

A federal appeals court has granted a stay of deportation to Germany for accused Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk.

The court made the ruling shortly after the frail 89-year-old was removed from his suburban Cleveland home by six immigration officers using a wheelchair.

It's unclear if Demjanjuk will be brought back home.

Earlier Tuesday, U.S. immigration agents arrived at Demjanjuk's home to deport him to Germany, where an arrest warrant alleges he was a Nazi death camp guard, his son said.

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His son, John Demjanjuk Jr., filed motions earlier in the day asking the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay of deportation. The government objected.

He was in contact with people at his father's home.

"He can't stand up and walk out of the house," Demjanjuk Jr. said. "We weren't anticipating anything like this. I was told that a family member could accompany him. We also were told that we would have 3-5 days notice before anything happened."

Around 1 p.m., five men in two unmarked cars arrived at Demjanjuk's home and at least three have been inside the home.

A wheelchair-accessible van arrived after one man was heard saying on a cell phone, "John can't get out of bed." Two priests who came to the home later went inside and left after a short time.

A short while later, video footage showed Demjanjuk being carried out of his house in a wheelchair and placed into the waiting van as family members looked on.

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 U.S. attorney general's office filed a response to Demjanjuk's 6th Circuit motions, saying the court does not have the authority to rule on a previous denial for a stay by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals.

"Because there is no reviewable final order of removal, this court lacks jurisdiction," the government said. "Simply put, this court does not have the statutory authority to entertain his request and related motion."

Pat Reilly, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, reached on cell phone Tuesday, said the federal agency is not commenting on the case.

If reviewed, the filing at the U.S. appeals court would set up another venue where Demjanjuk of suburban Cleveland could try to show that he is too sick to travel.

His family has said he is in constant pain from several ailments and that being deported to Germany amounts to torture.

"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.

It asks the appeals court to consider Demjanjuk's health and age and says that during the trip to Germany he would be attended by medical personnel interested in keeping him stable "in order to deliver him to German authorities who clearly have their own agenda."

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.

Demjanjuk, a native Ukrainian, 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.

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.

A U.S. judge revoked his citizenship in 2002, based on Justice Department evidence showing he concealed his service at Sobibor and other Nazi-run death and forced labor camps.

An immigration judge ruled in 2005 he could be deported to Germany, Poland or Ukraine.

Guenther Maull, a Munich-based lawyer for Demjanjuk said earlier Tuesday that his client could arrive in Germany on Wednesday.

The Immigration Appeals board in Falls Church, Va., had denied a motion for an emergency stay on Friday.

The U.S. Justice Department has opposed his previous appeals.