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Sixth Circuit stays deportation of accused Nazi guard

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website] granted [order, PDF] Tuesday a stay of deportation of accused Nazi prison guard John Demjanjuk [NNDB profile; JURIST news archive]. The court issued the stay while it considers Demjanjuk's appeal of last Friday's order by the Board of Immigration Appeals that denied his emergency stay of deportation [JURIST report]. Demjanjuk faces deportation to Germany, where in March a Munich district court charged [JURIST report] him with 29,000 counts of accessory to murder for his alleged involvement at the Sobibor [Death Camps backgrounder] concentration camp. In his motion [text, PDF], Demjanjuk argued that public interest weighed in favor of the stay, while the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] argued [response, PDF] that the court lacked jurisdiction to order the stay since no final order of deportation had been issued. In granting the stay, the Sixth Circuit ruled that "[b]ecause it is our understanding that the government may remove the petitioner later today, we are compelled to rule on the motion for a stay prior to addressing the jurisdictional concerns raised by the government."

Last week, a US immigration judge revoked a stay of deportation [JURIST report] issued for Demjanjuk. The stay had been ordered [AP report] after Demjanjuk filed a motion to reopen his case. The immigration judge ruled [AFP report] that the stay had been ordered in error and revoked it, stating the motion should have been filed with the BIA. Demjanjuk has fought a lengthy legal battle over his alleged involvement with Nazi death camps during World War II. In 2008, the US Supreme Court denied certiorari in Demjanjuk v. Mukasey [order, PDF; JURIST report], ending the appeals process for his deportation order. Demjanjuk was appealing a 2005 ruling [JURIST report] by then-US Chief Immigration Judge Michael Creppy which ordered his deportation. Demjanjuk had previously lost his appeal to the BIA. Additionally, 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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