TEL AVIV (Apr. 13)
John Demjanjuk, suspected of being the notorious inmate guard “Ivan the Terrible” at the Treblinka death camp during World War II, was remanded in custody for another 15 days in order to give police additional time to prepare the charge sheet against the alleged war criminal.
Jerusalem Chief Magistrate Aharon Simcha, sitting in a makeshift courtroom at the Ayalon Prison where Demjanjuk is being held in solitary confinement, ruled last Friday that sufficient evidence, including photographs and documents, had been received from a number of countries to warrant ordering his continued detention while the material was being examined and the charge sheet formulated.
The 66-year-old retired automobile worker was deported from the United States to Israel last month. He was ordered detained for 13 days on March 16, and for another 15 days on March 28. He claims that he was never in Treblinka and that the accusations against him are based on mistaken identity.
Demjanjuk’s attorney from the U.S., Mark O’Connor, was not in court last Friday, as he went to Poland a week ago to seek new evidence which can substantiate his client’s claim that he was never at the death camp. Demjanjuk’s wife and three children are still in the U.S. and it is not yet known if and when they will come to Israel to be near him during his trial in Jerusalem.
Demjanjuk seemed to be in good spirits during his appearance before Simcha. The balding, bespectacled Demjanjuk joked with his interpreter after his handcuffs had been removed as he entered the courtroom. He smiled and waved to the many journalists attending the proceedings in the Ramle prison, and at one point removed his glasses for a photographer.