Judge orders halt to Demjanjuk deportation

April 4, 2009 at 8:36 AM

ARLINGTON, Va., April 4 (UPI) -- A U.S. immigration judge says accused Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk can stay in Ohio for now, halting his deportation to Germany.

Prosecutors in Munich were hoping the 89-year-old retired autoworker would be ordered to leave the United States and face charges that the helped in the slayings of at least 29,000 Jews as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943.

But U.S. Immigration Judge Wayne Iskra halted the proceedings Friday in Arlington, Va., to consider the arguments of Demjanjuk's family that, because of his failing health, deporting him from his home in Seven Hills, Ohio, would constitute torture, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Saturday.

"There's a reason John Demjanjuk is still in Seven Hills today: He's not the guy," Demjanjuk's son, John Jr., told the newspaper after the ruling.

U.S. officials, however, denounced the torture claims, calling the last-minute motions a legal "Hail Mary" pass that seeks to put aside several earlier rulings by U.S. judges that Demjanjuk should be deported for allegedly lying about his Nazi past to enter the United States after World War II.

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