`Nazi guard` threatens hunger strike

John Demjanjuk is accused of helping to murder 27,900 Jews as a Nazi guard.

Last Updated: Feb 23, 2011, 00:03 AM IST

Munich: John Demjanjuk, a 90-year-old
accused of helping to murder 27,900 Jews during his alleged
time as a Nazi death camp guard, threatened on Tuesday to go on
hunger strike, as his trial neared an end.

In a dramatic development, his lawyer Ulrich Busch
read out a rare statement from the accused, in which he
dismissed the Munich court case as a "political show trial".

"There is only one path open to me: to show the world
what a mockery of justice this trial is," said the statement.

"Unless the court does not accept the historical facts
and does not... search for justice instead of carrying out a
political show trial, I will begin a hunger strike within the
next two weeks," Demjanjuk added.

He called on the court to admit evidence the defence
says will cast doubt on allegations he was a guard at the Nazi
death camp Sobibor between March and September 1943.

Prosecutors were due today to begin their closing
arguments, but Busch entered a series of motions that delayed
this. He said on the sidelines of the trial that he would
plead for his client to walk free.

The accused entered the court in a wheelchair, wearing
his now trademark sunglasses and carrying a small sign showing
the figure "1627", the document number of the 1,400-page
Soviet KGB file the defence says would clear him.

The court in the southern city of Munich could come to
a verdict as early as March 22, although defence motions,
expected to continue on Wednesday, were likely to push this
date back.

Demjanjuk, who denies the charges, faces 15 years
behind bars if convicted.

The Ukrainian-born former mechanic has been fighting
to clear his name for decades.

In his statement, Demjanjuk accused Germany of blaming
him for the Holocaust.

"Now, as my life comes to an end, Germany -- the
country that murdered millions of innocent people cruelly and
without mercy -- has destroyed my dignity, my soul, my spirit
and my life with a political show trial," he said.

PTI