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Germany official denies that deporting accused Nazi guard is torture

[JURIST] Bavaria's Secretary of Justice Beate Merk told reporters Saturday that the deportation of Nazi prison camp guard John Demjanjuk [NNDB profile; JURIST news archive], does not amount to torture. Demjanjuk was recently charged with 29,000 counts of accessory to murder [JURIST report] by German prosecutors for his alleged involvement at the Sobibor [Death Camps backgrounder] concentration camp. On Friday, he won a ruling in a US immigration court [NYT report] that suspended his deportation to Germany pending an appeal of the original case that ordered his expulsion from the US. Demjanjuk's lawyers had argued that deportation would subject Demjanjuk to mental and physical pain that would amount to torture because of his deteriorating health and Germany's intent to place him in prison. Merk called the delays cynical and intolerable [AP report], and said she was unsure how the case would go forward.

Demjanjuk has fought a lengthy legal battle over his alleged involvement with Nazi death camps during World War II. In May 2008, the US Supreme Court denied certiorari in Demjanjuk v. Mukasey [order, PDF; JURIST report], ending the appeals process for his deportation order. Demajanjuk was appealing a 2005 ruling [JURIST report] by then-US Chief Immigration Judge Michael Creppy ordering his deportation. Demjanjuk had previously lost an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals [DOJ backgrounder]. The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit denied Demjanjuk's petition for review [text, PDF] in January 2008. In 1988, Demjanjuk was convicted and sentenced to death by an Israeli court which found that he was a notorious guard from Treblinka nicknamed "Ivan the Terrible." The sentence was vacated by the Israeli Supreme Court in 1993, and Demjanjuk returned to the US.

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