Saturday, 9 July 2011

German prosecutors drop Demjanjuk sentence appeal

BERLIN, July 8, - German prosecutors withdrew their appeal on Friday against a court decision to free convicted Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk. Munich prosecutors said the 91-year-old Demjanjuk no longer posed a flight risk since he is confined to a nursing home.

Ukraine-born Demjanjuk is stateless after being stripped of his U.S. citizenship before his extradition to Germany in 2009.

In May a Munich court convicted Demjanjuk of helping to kill more than 28,000 people at the Sobibor camp in German-occupied Poland during World War Two.

But prosecutors later filed an appeal against Demjanjuk's five-year prison sentence and his immediate release from jail, which the court said was because of his advanced age.

Prosecutors had initially demanded a six-year sentence.

Demjanjuk's lawyers have also appealed his guilty verdict but it will take at least a year to go through the required legal procedures.

Demjanjuk, who was once top of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of most wanted Nazi war criminals, said he was drafted into the Soviet army in 1941 and then taken prisoner by the Germans.

Demjanjuk was initially sentenced to death two decades ago in Israel for being the notorious "Ivan the Terrible" camp guard at Treblinka in Poland. The guilty verdict was overturned on appeal by Israel's supreme court in 1993 after new evidence emerged pointing to a case of mistaken identity.

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