Demjanjuk loses appeal, trial to begin next month

Demjanjuk loses appeal,

Germany's highest court has thrown out appeals by John Demjanjuk's lawyer and cleared the way for his trial to begin next month in Munich. Demjanjuk, a retired Ohio auto worker, is charged with being an accessory to the murder of 27,900 people at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, where prosecutors allege he served as a guard. His trial is due to start Nov. 30. Germany's Federal Constitutional Court said Wednesday that judges decided unanimously last week to reject complaints from Demjanjuk's lawyer, Ulrich Busch, about decisions to begin the trial and to keep the Demjanjuk in custody. It said that the ruling cannot be appealed. In his complaints, Busch cited the 89-year-old Demjanjuk's health concerns, among other issues. The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk was flown to Germany from the United States in May after losing a long battle to avoid deportation. He has been in custody since. He maintains that he was a Red Army soldier who was held as a prisoner of war and never hurt anyone. The charges were filed in July after doctors determined that Demjanjuk was fit to stand trial as long as court hearings do not exceed two 90-minute sessions per day. They carry a possible maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Among the documents obtained by Munich prosecutors is an SS identity card that features a photo of a young, round-faced Demjanjuk along with his height and weight, and that says he worked at Sobibor.