Monday, November 30, 2009

John Demjanjuk Trial Begins in Munich, Germany - 30 November, 2009

John Demjanjuk
Demjanjuk hearing his death sentence on April 25, 1988 in Jerusalem, Israel.

John Demjanjuk (born Ivan Mykolayovych Demyanyuk, 1920, Ukraine) is a retired auto worker and former United States citizen, who gained notoriety after being accused of war crimes.

Demjanjuk migrated to the United States in 1951. He was deported to Israel in 1986 and later sentenced to death there in 1988 for war crimes, based on his identification by Israeli Holocaust survivors as "Ivan the Terrible," a notorious SS guard at the Treblinka and Sobibor extermination camps during the period 1942–1943 who committed murder and acts of extraordinarily savage violence against camp prisoners. His conviction for crimes against humanity was later overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court in 1993 due to a finding of reasonable doubt based on evidence suggesting that Demjanjuk was not "Ivan the Terrible" and had, in fact, been a guard at camps besides the one at Treblinka. After the trial he returned to Cleveland, Ohio.

Demjanjuk was put on trial again in 2001 (Cleveland ) on charges that he had served as a guard at the Sobibór and Majdanek camps in occupied Poland and at the Flossenbürg camp in Germany. His deportation was again ordered in 2005, but he remained in the United States as no country would agree to accept him. On April 2, 2009, it was announced that Demjanjuk would be deported to Germany and would face trial there on charges of accessory to 29,000 counts of murder. On April 3, 2009, a judge ordered that Demjanjuk, 89 years old, be given a temporary stay, pending a judicial decision on his newly filed (April 2) motion to reopen his deportation order, on the ground that deporting him would amount to torture under the applicable international convention. The stay was overturned on April 6.

On April 14, 2009, immigration agents began Demjanjuk's deportation, removing him from his home in a wheelchair. He was scheduled to fly to Munich from Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, but the legal order was again reversed and another stay granted by the court. On May 7, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Demjanjuk's appeal and on May 8, 2009, he was ordered to surrender to U.S. Immigration agents for deportation to Germany. On May 11, Demjanjuk left his Cleveland home by ambulance, and was taken to the airport, where he was deported by plane to Germany. He arrived there the next morning on May 12. On July 13, 2009, Demjanjuk was formally charged with 27,900 counts of acting as an accessory to murder, one for each person who died at Sobibor during the time he is accused of serving as a guard at the Nazi death camp. On 30 November 2009 Demjanjuk's trial, expected to last for several months, began in Munich.

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)

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