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Trial of former Auschwitz SS medic postponed for second time over health concerns

[JURIST] A court in Neubrandenburg, Germany, on Monday postponed the trial of a former Nazi SS medic because the 95-year-old remains unfit to appear before the court. The trial was scheduled to open on Monday, but the court announced a doctor made an earlier determination that Hubert Zafke remains unfit for trial [AP report] due to a number of health concerns, including high blood pressure. Zafke is charged with serving as an accessory to the murder of 3,681 people at Auschwitz. The trial was postponed two weeks ago [JURIST report] for similar health concerns. In December a judge ruled that Zafke was fit to stand trial [JURIST report]. However, in late February a doctor determined [AP report] that Zafke suffers from high blood pressure, stress and suicidal thoughts. In the doctor's determination, these ailments coupled with his age, make him too frail to stand trial. The court has made the request that Zafke undergo a full medical examination in a hospital. The prosecution has raised suspicions that Zafke may be ingesting medication to cause his blood pressure to rise to abnormal levels.

In February a German court began the trial [JURIST report] of a 94-year-old man charged with 170,000 counts of accessory to murder at Auschwitz. The 2011 conviction [JURIST report] of former Nazi guard John Demjanjuk may have emboldened German prosecutors to pursue cases against all those who materially helped Nazi Germany function. The most recent person imprisoned for his role in the Holocaust was Oskar Groening. Known as the "accountant of Auschwitz," Groening was charged [JURIST report] in September 2014 as an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people. In July Groening was given a four-year jail sentence for his role at Auschwitz, which he said he would appeal [JURIST reports].

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