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Demjanjuk lawyer calls for acquittal in closing arguments

The lawyer for accused Nazi guard John Demjanjuk [NNDB profile, JURIST news archive] called for acquittal Tuesday as he presented his closing arguments in a German courtroom. Defense lawyer Ulrich Busch also argued that Demjanjuk should be awarded damages for false imprisonment [Reuters report]. Demjanjuk is accused of helping murder Jews at the Sobidor death camp during the Holocaust, but his lawyers claim the prosecution has produced no evidence to show his guilt. The defense is expected to finish its closing arguments within the next week. In March, the prosecution called for a six-year sentence [JURIST report]. A verdict is expected later this month.

Demjanjuk's trial, which began in November 2009, has been marked by extensive delay. Last May, the 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 relating to his health [JURIST reports], 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].

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