Artukovic, Demjanjuk Hearings Continue
Mar. 13, 1985
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A federal magistrate refused to stop the government from transferring ailing alleged Nazi war criminal Andrija Artukovic to a Missouri hospital, and his daughter shouted at the judge, ''You've just killed him 3/8''
U.S. Magistrate Volney Brown, who has ordered the 85-year-old Artukovic extradited to Yugoslavia, ruled Tuesday that he had no authority to order him kept temporarily at Long Beach Naval Hospital, where he has been held for three months.
In Cleveland, meanwhile, retired autoworker John Demjanjuk was alternately described at an extradition hearing Tuesday as a quiet family man and a sadistic World War II Nazi death camp guard who killed thousands of people.
A federal judge must decide whether Demjanjuk, 64, will be extradited to Israel to face prosecution.
In Los Angeles, Brown said he would recommend that Artukovic not be moved, despite his ruling.Assistant U.S. Attorney David Nimmer has said it has become too expensive to keep Artukovic at the naval hospital where he has lived for three months.
The Yugoslav government wants to try Artukovic for the murders of some 750,000 Jews, Serbs and gypsies during World War II when Artukovic was interior minister of the Nazi puppet state of Croatia.
Brown ordered Artukovic's extradition for only one murder detailed in the Yugoslav indictment presented at the extradition hearing, but he granted a 60- day stay to allow Yugoslavia to add names to the indictment.
Artukovic, who has fought extradition and deportation efforts for nearly 40 years, is legally blind, has heart trouble and suffers from other ailments including senility.
Artukovic's wife and three daughters wept in a crowded courtroom, and one of the daughters yelled ''You've just killed him 3/8'' after Brown's ruling.
Defense lawyer Michael Dacquisto argued in vain that Artukovic's transfer to the U.S. Medical Facility at Springfield, Mo., would harm his health and was possibly life-threatening. He pleaded for his release on bail.
''The cumulative effect of Dr. Artukovic being removed from his family and placed in a totally isolated environment would be devastating,'' Dacquisto said.
Demjanjuk's case marks Israel's first attempt to gain custody of a denaturalized U.S. citizen for a war crimes trial since the two countries signed an extradition treaty in 1963.
After Tuesday's five-hour hearing,U.S. District Judge Frank J. Battisti said he would rule ''expeditiously'' on whether probable cause exists to extradite Demjanjuk.
Battisti also temporarily denied a Justice Department request to revoke Demjanjuk's $50,000 surety bond. Demjanjuk's lawyers have 10 days to reply why he should not be considered a threat to flee the country.
''John Demjanjuk has never lost his faith in the justice system,'' Demjanjuk's lawyer, Mark J. O'Connor, said after the hearing. ''To think he would flee the country is ridiculous.''
Demjanjuk, of the middle-class Cleveland suburb of Seven Hills, allegedly ran a gas chamber at Treblinka, Poland, in 1942 and 1943 and became known to prisoners as ''Ivan the Terrible.''
Demjanjuk contends he was a Soviet soldier captured in Poland and held as a prisoner of war during World War II. He denies aiding the Nazis.
If Battisti finds probable cause to extradite Demjanjuk, the case would be certified to Secretary of State George Shultz, who would have to make the final extradition decision, government lawyers said.