John Demjanjuk 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Lukas Barth/Pool)
The Soviet Union “quite likely fabricated” evidence key to the trial of suspected Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday, quoting an FBI report that had been kept secret for 25 years.
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According to AP, the revelation could help the defense as closing arguments take place Wednesday in Germany at Demjanjuk’s trial on charges of Nazi war crimes.
The FBI report expresses doubt about the authenticity of a Nazi ID card that would be an important piece of evidence in allegations that Demjanjuk served as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland.
German prosecutors have relied mainly on a photo ID from an SS training camp that shows Demjanjuk was sent to Sobibor.
Demjanjuk’s defense lawyers have repeatedly claimed that the card and other evidence against him were Soviet forgeries, but the FBI report offers the first known confirmation that US investigators expressed similar doubts, AP reported.
“Justice is ill-served in the prosecution of an American citizen on evidence which is not only normally inadmissible in a court of law, but based on evidence and allegations quite likely fabricated by the KGB,” the FBI’s field office in Cleveland said in the 1985 report, which came out four years after the Soviets had shown US investigators the ID card. According to AP, the FBI agents argued that the Soviets were interested in forging documents as part of a campaign to “smear anti-communist emigres.”