[JURIST] Germany prosecutors called Tuesday for a six-year sentence in the trial of John Demjanjuk [NNDB profile, JURIST news archive], accused of having helped to murder 27,900 Jews at the Sobibor death camp during his time as a guard there. The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, now 90 years old, was allegedly among Soviet prisoners-of-war recruited to work at the death camps by the SS [BBC report]. Demjanjuk, however, has denied the charges against him and insisted he was a prisoner-of-war [AP report] for most of the remainder of the conflict. The prosecution requested conviction on all 27,900 counts of accomplice to murder, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years. Germany disallows consecutive sentencing, and the prosecutor requested only six years because of Demjanjuk’s advanced age and because he was already jailed for eight years in Israel [AFP report] before his conviction was overturned [JURIST archives] by the Israeli Supreme Court. A verdict is expected sometime in May.
Demjanjuk’s trial, which began in November 2009, has been marked by extensive delay. In addition, the Spanish National Court [official website, in Spanish] announced in January that it is seeking the extradition of Demjanjuk [JURIST report] 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. 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 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].