22 February 2011
John (Ivan) Demjanjuk, who is accused of helping to murder tens of thousands of Jews at the Nazi death camp Sobibor in occupied Poland, will go on a hunger strike unless the court allows him to present evidence that could exonerate him, his attorney Ulrich Busch has said. The 90-year-old Demjanjuk is standing trial in a Munich court and is accused assisting in the killings of 27,900 people in Sobibor. He would begin a hunger strike within the next two weeks, Busch said, adding that there were documents in a KGB file from Russia and Ukraine that could prove Demjanjuk was innocent. He read a statement on behalf of his client in which he accused Judge Ralph Alt of conducting a political "show trial".
"This is a mockery of justice," Busch said on Demjanjuk's behalf. Prosecutors are expected to conclude their case on Tuesday and a verdict could be reached by the end of March. The 15-month trial was delayed several times as Demjanjuk refused at times to attend sessions on grounds of ill-health, even though he was declared fit by doctors.
At least 250,000 people, most of them Jews, were killed at Sobibor during World War II. Demjanjuk denies having been there. However, US judges found that the captured Soviet soldier did join the SS and lied about it when entering the United States after the war. Demjanjuk's US citizenship was revoked in 2004 and he was deported to Germany in 2009.
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