Deportation ordered for accused Nazi
Judge orders Ohio war-crimes suspect sent back to Ukraine
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A federal immigration judge Wednesday ordered an Ohio man accused of having served as a Nazi death-camp guard deported to his native Ukraine.
John Demjanjuk, a retired Cleveland-area autoworker, has 30 days to appeal Wednesday's order by Chief Immigration Judge Michael Creppy -- the latest chapter in a decades-long government push to throw out a suspected war criminal.
A federal judge found in 2002 that Demjanjuk, now 85, had been a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Poland, where a quarter of a million people were killed during World War II, and at two other concentration camps.
Prosecutors argued that Demjanjuk concealed his history when he came to the United States in 1952.
Demjanjuk's lawyers argued that he had been captured by German forces and held as a prisoner of war.
They also contended that the U.N. Convention Against Torture, which the United States ratified in 1994, barred the government from sending him back to Ukraine.
But Creppy said that Ukraine has not brought a single case against a suspected war criminal since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and called Demjanjuk's claims that he would face torture there "speculative, not supported by the record, and without merit."
Under Creppy's order, Demjanjuk could be deported to Germany or Poland if Ukraine does not accept him.
The case dates back to the late 1970s, when the Justice Department accused Demjanjuk of being a Nazi guard known as "Ivan the Terrible" at the Treblinka death camp in Poland. Demjanjuk's U.S. citizenship was revoked in 1981, and he was extradited to Israel in 1986.
He was convicted in an Israeli court in 1988 and sentenced to death -- but that conviction was overturned in 1993 amid new evidence that someone else was Ivan the Terrible.
A federal court restored Demjanjuk's citizenship, ruling that the government had withheld evidence supporting his case.
But his citizenship was again revoked in 2002 after a federal judge ruled that he entered the United States illegally by hiding his past as a Nazi guard. Prosecutors did not seek to show that Demjanjuk was stationed in Treblinka or was Ivan the Terrible. (Full story)
The Simon Wiesenthal Center -- an international Jewish human rights organization based in Los Angeles, California -- applauded Wednesday's ruling against Demjanjuk.
"The rights of his victims to at least a symbolic measure of justice may be finally fulfilled," Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center's associate dean, said in a written statement.
CNN's Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.
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