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Alleged Nazi guard accuses Germany judges of bias

Alleged Nazi death camp prison guard John Demjanjuk [TIME profile; JURIST news archive] issued a statement on Tuesday accusing the German judges conducting his trial of bias [text] after the they rejected a number of defense petitions. In total, the judges rejected 23 petitions [WP report], including motions regarding whether Demjanjuk, who is Ukranian born but obtained US citizenship after World War II, is fit for trial. His family and physician argue that Demjanjuk, who is 90 years old, is too frail and in too much pain to make it through the trial. "While they silence the prison doctors and deny us the weekly clinical reports - against all Western legal and humanitarian standards - the judges rely on a court appointed medical stooge whose therapy is to shoot my father with various drugs and call him fit," Demanjanjuk's son, John Jr., said in statement appended to his father's. John Demjanjuk Sr. said, "The decision to continue with this trial is a crime of infringement of the law and a deprivation of my liberty. With this statement, I bring a charge against Judges Alt, Lenz and Pfluger for infringement of the law and deprivation of my liberty. I ask that my statement be provided to the authorities who must investigate and decide to take action regarding this serious charge."

In May, a German court refused to dismiss [JURIST report] the charges against Demjanjuk , although his defense lawyers claimed there was a lack of evidence. It is alleged that Demjanjuk volunteered to work at Sobibor [Abendzeitung report, in German] after being captured by German forces while serving as a member of the Soviet army. Multiple appeals were filed in regards to Demjanjuk's health, but he was found fit to stand trial, and his appeals were rejected [JURIST reports] in October 2009. Demjanjuk's trial began [JURIST report] last November, but the hearings have been limited to no more than two-90 minute sessions per day in deference to his health. Demjanjuk was deported to Germany [JURIST report] from the US in May 2009. According to a leaked Department of Justice report [text], the US acted as a safe harbor for Nazis [JURIST report; JURIST commentary] after World War II.

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