6-year term sought for Demjanjuk

March 23, 2011 at 10:58 AM
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MUNICH, Germany, March 23 (UPI) -- German prosecutors are seeking a six-year prison term for 90-year-old accused Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk.

A verdict on the Ukrainian-born longtime U.S. citizen is expected in May after a trial in Munich that has lasted nearly a year and a half, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports.

In closing arguments Tuesday, prosecutor Hans-Joachim Lutz said evidence proved Demjanjuk was an active accomplice to the murder of 27,900 Jews as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in German-occupied Poland in 1943. He said Demjanjuk acted from "cruel, treacherous and base motives."

Everyone who worked at the camp was guilty, and there is no statute of limitation on murder, Lutz said.

Defense attorney Ulrich Busch said Demjanjuk, a Soviet prisoner of war, was forced by the Germans to train as an SS guard at the Trawniki camp and is a scapegoat for the German justice system.

Demjanjuk lived in Ohio for decades but was stripped of his U.S. citizenship for lying about his past. He was accused of being the guard "Ivan the Terrible" at Treblinka, but Israel's Supreme Court overturned that conviction.

In 2009, he was deported from the United States to Germany for trial on the Sobibor charges.

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