JERUSALEM (JTA) — The U.S. Justice Department asked a federal appeals court to lift a stay of deportation for convicted Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk.
The government made the request in a brief filed with the court Monday, noting that a motion to reopen Demjanjuk’s case was rejected last week by the Board of Immigration Appeals in Falls Church, Va. The stay should be lifted, the government said, because it was based on the fact that the board had not yet considered the request.
Attorneys for Demjanjuk were granted the emergency stay last week after Demjanjuk had already been removed from his Cleveland-area home to be placed on a plane headed for Germany, which has requested his extradition to face trial as an accessory in the deaths of some 29,000 Jews.
Demjanjuk’s attorneys say their 89-year-old client is too sick to survive the trip to Germany.
Demjanjuk was accused in the early 1980s of being the notorious Treblinka death camp guard "Ivan the Terrible," but he was released from jail in Israel after seven years after he could not be identified as "Ivan" beyond a reasonable doubt.
The U.S. Justice Department later reported that Demjanjuk had been a guard at Sobibor and was liable for deportation because he lied about his Nazi past to obtain U.S. citizenship. American 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.