Demjanjuk defense: Soviets tortured witnesses

November 11, 2010 18:27


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MUNICH — John Demjanjuk's lawyer argued Thursday that transcripts of interrogations by Soviet authorities of former Nazi death camp guards shouldn't be used as evidence because the suspects could have been tortured for their confessions.

The argument appeared aimed at excluding statements by a now-deceased former Sobibor guard who told Soviet interrogators he remembered Demjanjuk from the camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, 90, a retired Ohio autoworker, is standing trial on 28,060 counts of accessory to murder for allegedly having been a guard at Sobibor. He denies ever having been a guard anywhere.

In statements read to the court on Thursday, two former Soviet soldiers who had served as guards told Russian authorities years after the war that the confessions they had made in the immediate postwar period had been made under torture.

Defense attorney Ulrich Busch said their comments raise the possibility that all statements made to Soviet authorities were made under duress.

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