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Germany court rejects Spain Demjanjuk extradition request

A Munich court on Thursday denied Spain's request to extradite retired US autoworker and convicted Nazi guard John Demjanjuk [NNDB profile; JURIST news archive] to stand trial in Madrid. The Spanish National Court in January sought Demjanjuk's extradition so he could stand trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity relating to his alleged involvement with the Flossenburg [HRP backgrounder] concentration camp where 60 Spanish citizens were killed during World War II. The German court said Spanish authorities failed to provide requested information [AP report] about whether Demjanjuk was involved in the alleged crimes. The German court also indicated that Spain likely did not have jurisdiction over the case because the alleged crimes took place in Germany and Germany's statute of limitations had expired.

A German court in May convicted Demjanjuk [JURIST report] on 28,060 counts of helping to murder thousands during the Holocaust, sentencing him to five years in prison and then releasing him pending appeal. The judge found that Demjanjuk, 91, served as a guard at the at the Sobidor death camp, assisting in the deaths of nearly 28,000 Jews. The five-year sentence is less than the six years sought by the prosecution [JURIST report]. Judge Ralph Alt ordered his release [DW report] because of his advanced age and because the verdict is not final. Demjanjuk's trial, which began [JURIST report] in November 2009, was 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 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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