Suspected Nazi Guard Fit to Stand Trial in Germany

Doctors have determined that John Demjanjuk, suspected of having been a guard in a Nazi death camp, is fit to stand trial as an accessory to murder, clearing the way for formal charges to be filed this month, prosecutors said Friday.

The doctors said the 89-year-old retired auto worker, who was recently extradited from the United States, can stand trial so long as court sessions do not exceed two 90-minute sessions per day, Munich prosecutors said in a brief statement.

They added that formal charges can be expected later this month.

Demjanjuk is accused of being an accessory to murder in 29,000 cases at the Sobibor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II.

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He has been in custody in Munich since arriving there May 12 after losing a court battle to stay in the United States.

Demjanjuk's health was a key issue in that battle. His son has said he is dying of leukemic bone marrow disease.

Dramatic photos in April showed Demjanjuk wincing in apparent pain as immigration agents removed him from his home in Seven Hills, Ohio, during an earlier aborted attempt to deport him to Germany. However, images taken only days before and released by the U.S. government showed him entering his car unaided.

Demjanjuk says he was a Red Army soldier who spent World War II as a Nazi POW and never hurt anyone.

But Nazi-era documents obtained by U.S. justice authorities and shared with German prosecutors include a photo ID identifying Demjanjuk as a guard at the Sobibor death camp and say he was trained at an SS facility for Nazi guards at Trawniki, also in Poland.

Efforts to prosecute the Ukrainian native began in 1977 and have involved courts and government officials from at least five countries on three continents.

Charges of accessory to murder carry a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in prison in Germany.