Demjanjuk Lawyers Ask Court to Allow Immediate U.S. Return With AM-Israel-Demjanjuk, Bjt
CINCINNATI (AP) _ A federal appeals court will hear arguments Tuesday on whether to allow John Demjanjuk to return to the United States while he appeals his 1986 extradition to Israel.
On Thursday the Israeli Supreme Court overturned Demjanjuk’s 1988 conviction and death sentence as ″Ivan the Terrible,″ the gas chamber operator at the Nazi death camp Treblinka.
Demjanjuk, 73, a retired autoworker from suburban Cleveland, was stripped of his U.S. citizenship in 1981 and extradited to Israel in 1986.
He has appealed to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, saying the Justice Department withheld information that could have helped him fight the proceeding.
In a motion Friday, his lawyers questioned the validity of the extradition order and the fairness of forcing Demjanjuk to live abroad while the appeal continues.
The appeals court, in a separate hearing Sept. 3, will hear testimony on a federal judge’s investigation into whether the Justice Department withheld information that could have cleared Demjanjuk.
U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Wiseman Jr. has said he believes the Justice Department inadvertently withheld information from Demjanjuk’s defense. He also said it probably made no difference in the outcome of the case.
Appeals court spokeswoman Debra Nagle said the court’s decision will not affect the order stripping Demjanjuk of his citizenship or an order that he be deported to his native Ukraine.
Demjanjuk was stripped of his citizenship after he admitted lying about his wartime activities on his citizenship application. He has said he lied to avoid being returned to Ukraine, which at the time was part of the Soviet Union.
Demjanjuk said in an interview broadcast Friday that he may seek temporary refuge in Ukraine if not allowed to return to the United States.