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Demjanjuk trial on Nazi death camp charges opens

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 - 00:01

Munich: A German court put John Demjanjuk on
trial on Monday to face charges of being an accessory to the
murder of 27,900 Jews at a Nazi death camp, and his lawyer
immediately accused the court of bias.

The 89-year-old retired Ohio autoworker arrived at the
opening of the trial in a wheelchair to face the final chapter
of some 30 years of efforts to prosecute him, wearing a navy
baseball cap and covered in a light blue blanket.

After the first 90-minute session, Demjanjuk was returned
to the courtroom lying flat on his back on a gurney, covered
in blankets.

Doctors who had examined Demjanjuk before the second
session began said he had complained of serious pain and was
given a shot. They ordered the session be cut short, and it
wrapped up 30 minutes later.

Demjanjuk`s attorney had opened the proceedings by filing
a motion against the court`s judge and prosecutors, accusing
them of treating the Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk harsher than
Germans who ran the Nazi`s Sobidor death camp in occupied

Lawyer Ulrich Busch charged that the case should never
have been brought to trial. He cited cases in which Germans
assigned to Sobibor, where prosecutors allege Demjanjuk served
as a guard, were acquitted.

"How can you say that those who gave the orders were
innocent ... and the one who received the orders is guilty?"
Busch told the court. "There is a moral and legal double
standard being applied today."

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 - 00:01
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