SEVEN HILLS, Ohio — An elderly former autoworker accused of being a Nazi death camp guard remained at his suburban Cleveland home today, hours after the expiration of a stay that blocked his deportation for trial in Germany.
A U.S. immigration judge on Friday put a temporary stop to an order for the removal of John Demjanjuk. But he revoked that decision Monday, and the stay expired at midnight Tuesday.
Earlier Tuesday, Demjanjuk’s attorney asked the Board of Immigration Appeals in Falls Church, Va., to block the deportation, arguing in a court filing that forcing the frail 89-year-old to go to Germany would amount to torture.
The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk is accused in a German arrest warrant of 29,000 counts of acting as an accessory to murder at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943.
He has denied involvement in any deaths, saying he was a prisoner of war, held by the Russians. He came to the United States after World War II as a refugee.
German prosecutors in Munich are making their case largely on evidence used in the United States to strip Demjanjuk of U.S. citizenship in 2002.
In a three-page signed statement last week, Demjanjuk asked for asylum in the U.S. and said deporting him “will expose me to severe physical and mental pain that clearly amount to torture under any reasonable definition of the term.”
He said he suffers severe spinal, hip and leg pain and has a bone marrow disorder, kidney disease, anemia, kidney stones, arthritis, gout and spinal deterioration.
John Broadley, Demjanjuk’s attorney, said a government physician examined Demjanjuk on Thursday to determine his ability to travel and there was “dramatic evidence” of his back pain. The Justice Department said the findings were irrelevant in a removal proceeding.
Demjanjuk became a U.S. citizen in 1958. But citizenship was revoked in 1981 when the Justice Department alleged he had served the Nazis as the notorious Nazi guard “Ivan the Terrible” in Poland at the Treblinka death camp.
He was extradited to Israel in 1986, and two years later was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He appealed, and Israel’s Supreme Court in 1993 ruled that Demjanjuk was not Ivan the Terrible and allowed him to return to the United States.