A U.S. immigration judge on Monday revoked a stay of deportation granted to suspected Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk, paving the way for the retired auto worker’s possible deportation as soon as Wednesday for trial in Germany.
“It is the opinion of the court that the motion to reopen has been misfiled with the Immigration Court,” wrote Judge Wayne Iskra in Arlington, Virginia. “Consequently, this court’s order to stay respondent’s removal is revoked effective April 8, 2009.” The judge noted that “jurisdiction over the motion to reopen lies with the board.” Both the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Board of Immigration Appeals have issued final orders in the case. Demjanjuk’s attorney, John Broadley, did not immediately return telephone calls. He had argued that his 89-year-old client was in such ill health that his deportation and trial in Germany would be tantamount to torture. Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian, is accused of involvement during World War II in killings at Sobibor, a Nazi German death camp in Poland. He denies the allegations. German authorities issued their arrest warrant for Demjanjuk on March 10, accusing him of being an accessory to 29,000 counts of murder as a guard at the death camp from March to September 1943.
Judge stays deportation
German authorities studied an identification card provided by the U.S. Office of Special Investigations and concluded it was genuine before issuing the warrant, a statement said. Demjanjuk has been fighting charges of Nazi war crimes for more than two decades. He was extradited from the United States to Israel, where he was convicted in 1986 of being “Ivan the Terrible,” a guard at the notorious Treblinka extermination camp. Israeli courts overturned the conviction on appeal, and he returned to the United States. The United States filed new charges against him in 1999, again alleging that he had been a concentration camp guard. He was stripped of U.S. citizenship and has been awaiting deportation since 2005 despite fighting his case all the way to the Supreme Court. Demjanjuk, who lives with his wife in Cleveland, Ohio, has said he fought in the Soviet army and later was a prisoner of war held by the Germans.