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Spain seeks extradition of accused Nazi guard

The Spanish National Court [official website, in Spanish] announced Friday that they are seeking the extradition of alleged Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk [NNDB profile, JURIST news archive] so he can stand trial on charges relating to his alleged involvement with the Flossenburg [HRP backgrounder] concentration camp where 60 Spanish citizens were killed during World War II. The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk is currently standing trial [JURIST report] in Germany for 27,900 accessory accounts stemming from his alleged involvement as a guard at Sobibor concentration camp [Death Camps backgrounder]. In issuing the ruling, Judge Ismael Moreno indicated that Demjanjuk's actions caused him to be complicit in the commission of genocide [BBC report] and crimes against humanity. Moreno, acting under Spain's universal jurisdiction law, issued the European arrest warrant [AP report] so that Demjanjuk can be extradicted to Spain at the end of his trial in Germany. The investigation into Demjanjuk's alleged involvement in the camp began in 2008 following a request by Spanish Holocaust survivors to the National Court asking the court to investigate four alleged ex-Nazi camp guards, including Demjanjuk. Moreno issued arrest warrants for three of the accused men in September 2009, but an arrest warrant for Demjanjuk was not issued at that time because he had already been deported to Germany [JURIST reports] by the US. The German court trying Demjanjuk will now have to determine if he should be extradited [WSJ report] at the conclusion of his trial.

The German trial of Demjanjuk, which began in November 2009, has been marked by multiple appeals relating to his health, as well as efforts to dismiss the charges against him. Last May, a German court denied a motion to dismiss the charges [JURIST report] filed by the defense, which argued there was a lack of credible evidence. The court rejected the argument, saying they found the evidence against Demjanjuk to be strong. In October 2009, Demjanjuk was found fit to stand trial after the court rejected appeals [JURIST reports] relating to his health, although the court has limited hearings to no more than two 90-minute sessions per day. Demjanjuk fought a lengthy legal battle over his alleged involvement with Nazi death camps during World War II. He was deported to Germany after the US Supreme Court [official website] denied his stay of deportation [JURIST report]. It is alleged that Demjanjuk volunteered to work at Sobibor [Abendzeitung report, in German] after being captured by German forces while serving as a member of the Soviet army.

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