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US appeals court rejects Demjanjuk citizenship bid

US appeals court rejects Demjanjuk citizenship bid

A U.S. appeals court on Thursday rejected a request to restore the U.S. citizenship of a recently deceased autoworker convicted of Nazi war crimes.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that John Demjanjuk cannot regain his citizenship posthumously, saying his death made the case moot.
Demjanjuk died March 17 in Germany at age 91. His defense attorneys had said the U.S. government withheld potentially helpful material in his case and asked the court to either restore his citizenship or order a hearing on the case.
One of Demjanjuk's attorneys, Dennis Terez, said the defense was evaluating the opinion. There was no immediate comment from Demjanjuk's family.
The Ukraine-born Demjanjuk lived for decades in the U.S. before he was convicted by a German court in May 2011 on 28,060 counts of being an accessory to murder at the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland.
Demjanjuk, who maintained that he had been mistaken for someone else, died while his conviction was under appeal.
The defense team alleged that a judge violated basic fairness by ruling against Demjanjuk's citizenship appeal without holding a hearing on a 1985 secret FBI report uncovered recently by The Associated Press. The document indicates that the FBI believed a Nazi ID card purportedly showing that Demjanjuk served as a death camp guard was a Soviet-made fake.
The government responded to the 1985 document with an affidavit last year from retired FBI agent Thomas Martin. Martin said the report he wrote was based on speculation and not on any investigation. He said he had reached no conclusions about the ID card's authenticity.
Demjanjuk previously was tried, convicted and sentenced to death in Israel as the notoriously brutal guard "Ivan the Terrible" at the Treblinka extermination camp. The Israeli Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction after Israel received evidence that another Ukrainian, not Demjanjuk, was that Nazi guard.
But the supreme court judges said they still believed Demjanjuk had served the Nazis, probably at the Trawniki SS training camp and Sobibor, and declined to order a new trial. They said there was a risk of violating the law that prohibits trying someone twice on the same evidence.
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Associated Press writer Lisa Cornwell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-04-22 02:26 GMT+08:00