Demjanjuk is 'fit to stand trial'

By Jessica Elgot, July 3, 2009
Demjanjuk: declared fit to stand trial in Munich

Demjanjuk: declared fit to stand trial in Munich

The suspected war criminal, John Demjanjuk, has been declared fit enough to stand trial in Germany, despite his family's pleas that he is too frail.

Demjanjuk, 89, was deported in May from his home in the US to stand trial in Munich, where he is currently in hospital with gout.

But after a medical check-up, doctors declared him fit to face trial by the German court for his alledged war crimes, even though his family insist he is too ill to cope with the trial.

Ukraine-born Demjanjuk denies accusations that he was a guard at the Sobibor death camp, and therefore complicit in the murder of 29,000 Jews.

Demjanjuk insists he was a German prisoner of war and was captured while fighting for the Red Army.

He has lived in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1952, where he worked in the car industry, but was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity in Israel in 1988 after Holocaust victims claimed he was a guard at Treblinka.

His conviction was overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court overturned and Demjanjuk was allowed to return to Ohio.

Prosecutors in Germany now claim they have evidence of his Nazi background, including many witnesses and an SS identity card which shows he was posted to the death camp in Sobibor in 1943.

Demjanjuk will face trial on condition that court sessions are no more than two 90-minute periods daily.

Last updated: 4:36pm, July 3 2009