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Accused Nazi dies before US citizenship trial

Accused Nazi war criminal and US citizen Peter Egner [JURIST news archive] passed away last week at a retirement community in Bellevue, Washington. A US trial to revoke Egner's citizenship was scheduled to begin on February 22 [Reuters report] in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington [official website]. Documents filed in the court showed that a pretrial conference and a telephone conference scheduled last week were canceled. Egner was accused of being a part of Einsatzgruppen [USSHM backgrounder], a German military unit blamed for the deaths of more than 17,000 Serbian Jews and other minorities during Germany's occupation of Serbia in World War II. Egner admitted to US federal officials in 2007 that he had been a member of the squad, which is alleged to have rounded up women and children in specially modified vans to gas them with carbon monoxide.

In November, the Serbian government filed documents [JURIST report] seeking Egner's extradition from the US to Serbia so he could stand trial on war crimes charges. Serbia's Office the War Crimes Prosecutor [official website] announced in 2009 that it would ask the US [JURIST report] for Egner's extradition. In July 2008, Serbian prosecutors confirmed [JURIST report] that they were gathering evidence for a case against Egner. Earlier that same week, the DOJ filed a complaint [text, PDF] in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington seeking to revoke Egner's US citizenship. Egner became a US citizen in 1966 but failed to disclose his Nazi service on his citizenship application. The DOJ argued that he was ineligible for citizenship both because of his service and because he concealed that information on his application.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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