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Spain requests warrant for alleged Nazi war criminal

By the CNN Wire Staff
Suspected Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk, 89, arrives in a wheelchair for a court session in Germany last year.
Suspected Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk, 89, arrives in a wheelchair for a court session in Germany last year.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A Spanish judge says man was a guard at a concentration camp where 60 Spaniards died
  • He is on trial in Germany on charges of being an accessory to thousands of murders
  • He was extradited to Germany from the United States in 2009
  • Demjanjuk's lawyers have argued that he was a prisoner of war during the conflict
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Madrid, Spain (CNN) -- A Spanish court is requesting an arrest warrant for alleged Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk.

In a ruling dated January 7 but released Friday, Spanish Judge Ismael Moreno Chamarro said Demjanjuk is accused of being "an accomplice to the crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity."

The indictment said more than 150 Spaniards were imprisoned at the Flossenburg concentration camp, where Demjanjuk allegedly was a guard. Sixty of them died, according to evidence cited in the judge's ruling.

The ruling orders that a European arrest warrant be issued for Demjanjuk, who is currently on trial in Germany on charges of being an accessory to thousands of murders during World War II. He was extradited there from the United States in 2009.

Demjanjuk lost a U.S. Supreme Court case against his deportation. His lawyers had asked the high court to consider their claims that he was too ill and frail to be sent overseas. They also raised human rights and other legal issues.

In the German trial, his defense attorney there has argued that the court was imposing a "moral and judicial double standard."

The retired auto worker from Cleveland, Ohio -- a native Ukrainian -- was a prisoner of war during the conflict, and would have been killed had he not done what the Nazis ordered, the defense team argued in 2009.

The Munich state prosecutor brought the charges against Demjanjuk for his alleged role at the Sobibor death camp in Poland, where the Nazis and their accessories killed at least 167,000 people, according to the U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Relatives of victims have joined the prosecution's case in Germany.

The accusations against Demjanjuk date to the late 1970s, when the U.S. Justice Department accused him of being a Nazi guard known as "Ivan the Terrible." His U.S. citizenship was revoked in 1981, and he was extradited to Israel in 1986.

Demjanjuk was convicted in an Israeli court in 1988 and sentenced to death, but that conviction was overturned in 1993 amid evidence that someone else was "Ivan the Terrible."

A federal court restored Demjanjuk's citizenship, ruling the government withheld evidence supporting his case.

But his citizenship was revoked again in 2002 after a federal judge ruled his 1952 entry into the United States was illegal because he hid his past as a Nazi guard.

CNN's Al Goodman contributed to this report.

 
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