The Supreme Court on Thursday denied a stay of deportation for alleged Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk, who faces a war crimes prosecution in Germany.
Justice John Paul Stevens without comment refused to intervene in the planned transfer from the United States. Federal courts have all rejected his appeals, and the order from Stevens clears the way for the Justice Department to move ahead with the deportation. No date for the transfer has been set. Demjanjuk’s lawyers had asked the high court to consider their claims that he is too ill and frail to be sent overseas. They also raised human rights and other legal issues in their last-minute appeal.
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A German court Wednesday had also ruled against a request for a stay. Officials in Berlin have issued an arrest warrant charging the 89-year-old Ohio resident with being an accessory to the murder of about 29,000 civilians at the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland in 1943. The native Ukrainian has long claimed he was a prisoner of war, not a death camp guard. Immigration officers entered his Cleveland-area home April 14, and carried him out in his wheelchair to a waiting van. He was held for a few hours and then returned to his residence after a federal appeals court ruled temporarily in his favor. Demjanjuk appealed unsuccessfully to the Supreme Court last year. He was once accused by the United States and Israel of being a notoriously brutal S.S. guard at the Treblinka camp known as “Ivan the Terrible.” After appeals, that allegation was eventually dropped by both countries, but later other allegations were made against him. The case is Demjanjuk v. Holder (08A978).