John Demjanjuk, who is appealing his death sentence for war crimes at the Treblinka concentration camp, is reportedly considering a hunger strike to protest the High Court of Justice’s long delay in coming to a decision.
Members of Demjanjuk’s family reported his intention and said they are planning demonstrations outside Israeli diplomatic representations worldwide as part of the protest.
Demjanjuk’s Israeli lawyer, meanwhile, has appealed to the High Court to speed up its months-long consideration of the appeal.
Demjanjuk, who has been held in solitary confinement since being extradited to Israel six years ago, has consistently claimed that he is a victim of mistaken identity.
His defense lawyer presented evidence from the former Soviet Union that the so- called “Ivan the Terrible” at the Treblinka gas chambers as a man named Ivan Marchenko. He has also cited evidence that places Demjanjuk as a guard at another death camp, Sobibor. The prosecution has noted that Marchenko was the maiden name of Demjanjuk’s mother.
Demjanjuk, a 72-year-old former Cleveland area autoworker, was extradited to Israel in 1986 after being stripped of his U.S. citizenship. He was convicted in 1988 by an Israeli court of taking part in war crimes and was sentenced to hang.