Demjanjuk loses bid to stop deportation

US Supreme Court denies petition of alleged Nazi guard; attorney makes separate appeal in Germany.

demjanjuk moved in wheelchair (photo credit: AP [file])
demjanjuk moved in wheelchair
(photo credit: AP [file])
Alleged Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk lost his bid Thursday to get the US Supreme Court to stop his deportation to Germany, where an arrest warrant accuses him of 29,000 counts of accessory to murder during World War II. The legal case spans more than three decades. Justice John Paul Stevens denied without comment Demjanjuk's plea to step into his case. The 89-year-old retired autoworker lives in suburban Cleveland, and he, his family and his lawyers say he's in poor health and too frail to be sent overseas. The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk maintains he was held by the Germans as a Soviet prisoner of war and was never a camp guard. With his US options dwindling, Demjanjuk's attorney in Germany made a separate appeal Thursday to a German court to block the deportation. There was no immediate indication from Immigration and Customs Enforcement whether the agency would move promptly to deport Demjanjuk. The agency and the Department of Justice said they were cooperating with Germany on the deportation but offered no timetable. "The US government will continue to work in cooperation with the Government of Germany to affect the removal of Mr. Demjanjuk to Germany," spokeswoman Laura Sweeney said in an e-mail. John Demjanjuk Jr. gave no indication in an e-mail to The Associated Press of any further appeal planned on his father's behalf. "After nearly killing him in combat as a Soviet soldier and Ukrainian POW (prisoner of war), it appears Germany will now be responsible to care for him in a nursing home for the remainder of his life - if he survives the transportation," he wrote. "This is not about justice; it's about a vendetta in the falsified name of justice with the hope that somehow Germany will atone for its past." There was no immediate comment on Stevens' decision from Demjanjuk's attorney, John Broadley. A message was left for him. Demjanjuk was carried from his house in a wheelchair by immigration officers on April 14, and within hours his attorney won a reprieve from an appeals court. The three-judge panel in Cincinnati cleared the way for his deportation last week, and Demjanjuk's attorney appealed to the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The two sides offered dueling videos - the family's showing Demjanjuk moaning in apparent pain as an immigration doctor examined him before the deportation attempt. The government responded with a surveillance video showing Demjanjuk walking slowly but unassisted. A Berlin administrative court on Wednesday rejected an emergency lawsuit filed by Demjanjuk last week arguing that the German government should rescind its agreement to accept him from the US. Demjanjuk is wanted on a Munich arrest warrant that accuses him of being an accessory to murders at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland as a guard. Demjanjuk attorney Ulrich Busch told the AP in a telephone interview from his office in Ratingen, near Duesseldorf, that Germany should say it will not take Demjanjuk for humanitarian reasons. "If the Germans accept him for deportation, he loses his family, he loses his house, he loses his rights in the States; he loses everything," Busch said. "And he will never be allowed to come back." Broadley had asked the Supreme Court to allow at least 90 days so he could argue that the federal appeals court in Cincinnati erred last week when it denied Demjanjuk a stay of deportation. The Department of Justice has said Demjanjuk has used court filings as a delay tactic and that he is fit to travel and would be given proper care during the overseas flight. Demjanjuk has 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. The case dates back more than 30 years. In 1977, the Justice Department moved to revoke US citizenship, alleging Demjanjuk hid his past as a Nazi death camp guard. Demjanjuk had been tried in Israel after accusations surfaced that he was the notorious "Ivan the Terrible" at the Treblinka death camp in Poland. He was found guilty in 1988 of war crimes and crimes against humanity, a conviction later overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court. A US judge revoked his citizenship in 2002 based on US Justice Department evidence showing he concealed his service at Sobibor and other Nazi-run death and forced-labor camps. An immigration judge ruled in 2005 he could be deported to Germany, Poland or Ukraine. Munich prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for him in March.