US judge revokes stay on Demjanjuk deportation

US court clears the way for the deportation of accused Sobibor Nazi war criminal to Germany.

Demjanjuk hearing 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Demjanjuk hearing 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
A US judge has cleared the way for accused Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk to be deported to Germany as early as Wednesday, rescinding a stay he had granted days earlier. United States Immigration Judge Wayne Iskra ruled Monday that the 89-year-old Demjanjuk had erred in requesting a stay from his court while he argued the case should be reopened and his deportation reconsidered on the grounds that his ill health made sending him to Germany tantamount to torture. Though Iskra had issued a stay on Friday until the issue of reopening the case had been resolved, he indicated on Monday that a higher court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, was the appropriate venue for Demjanjuk's motion. Accordingly, he revoked the stay, effective Wednesday. The US could then remove Demjanjuk to Germany, where an arrest warrant has been issued for him of charges that he aided in the death of 29,000 people at the Sobibor extermination camp. Demjanjuk, though, can appeal to the board, raising the possibility of further delays in his deportation, which is being carried out on grounds that he lied on his US immigration forms in the 1950s when he did not acknowledge his role as a Nazi camp guard. Demjanjuk has denied the charges. It wasn't immediately clear whether he would be filing an additional appeal. The World Jewish Congress welcomed Iskra's decision on Monday. "Demjanjuk may be old and frail, but so are many Holocaust survivors whose lives were destroyed by the likes of him. They rightly demand justice from those who murdered their loved ones 65 years ago," WJC President Ronald Lauder said. "There are no excuses for any further delay in this case. No Nazi war criminal still alive should feel safe anywhere in the world."