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Federal appeals court denies Demjanjuk citizenship request

The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website] on Thursday rejected the request to restore the citizenship of John Demjanjuk [JURIST news archive], a retired Ohio autoworker convicted of being an accessory to over 28,000 murders as a guard at a Nazi extermination camp. Demjanjuk died [JURIST report] in a nursing home in March pending an appeal of his conviction. The court ruled that Demjanjuk cannot regain his citizenship posthumously [AP report] and his death has made the case moot. Demjanjuk's defense attorneys argue that the US withheld potentially helpful material [brief, PDF] about a Nazi ID card that may have been fabricated by the Soviets, but the government counters that the recent defense filing contains no new information on a matter that was decided last year by a US District Judge. The defense claims that decision was reached unfairly without a trial, and is currently evaluating the most recent opinion. Both Demjanjuk, up until his death, and now his son, maintain that he was an innocent Soviet POW who was framed by Germany.

Demjanjuk was convicted in German Court [JURIST report] in May 2011 and sentenced to five years in prison, however he was released to a nursing home due to his age and deteriorating health. In May 2010, a German judge denied a motion to dismiss [JURIST report] the charges due to lack of evidence. He was found fit to stand trial [JURIST report] in that court in October 2009 against allegations by Demjanjuk and his family that he was too old and sick to go through a trial. He was deported to Germany [JURIST report] from the U.S. in May 2009 after the US Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal of a 2005 deportation order [JURST reports] by a US Chief Immigration Judge.

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