WASHINGTON (JTA) – A United States immigration appeals board denied a request to reopen the deportation case of convicted Nazi guard John Demjanjuk.
Thursday’s decision comes after immigration officials removed Demjanjuk from his Cleveland-area home on Tuesday for deportation to Germany, which has sought his extradition to put him on trial, and then returned him to his home several hours later.
The federal appeals court in Cincinnati blocked the deportation late Tuesday afternoon after Demjanjuk’s son, John Demjanjuk Jr., drove across Ohio to file papers with the court, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Demjanjuk will now have to prove to the court that his deportation would amount to torture due to his many illnesses, including a tumor on his kidney.
Family members told media they were caught unaware Tuesday afternoon when a van arrived to remove the former death camp guard from his suburban Cleveland home. Several immigration agents carried the ailing 89-year old from his home. CNN broadcast images of a white van headed for Cleveland’s airport.
He had been scheduled to be flown to Munich on a chartered jet Tuesday night to face trial, after Germany sought his extradition on charges related to the deaths of 29,000 Jews.
An Israeli court convicted Demjanjuk in 1988 of being the ruthless "Ivan the Terrible" at the Treblinka death camp. In 1993, Israel’s Supreme Court dismissed the charges and freed Demjanjuk because he could not be positively identified as "Ivan."
The latter ruling upheld evidence that Demjanjuk had been a guard at another death camp, Sobibor, but reasoned that he had already served the sentence for that crime — seven years — waiting out the "Ivan" charges.
Demjanjuk returned to the Cleveland area and U.S. courts subsequently stripped him of his citizenship because he had lied about being a death camp guard. He and his family have appealed those orders for years.