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Demjanjuk death-camp trial extended

Other News Materials 24 November 2010 19:35 (UTC +04:00)
The trial of an alleged Nazi death-camp guard, John Demjanjuk, has been extended, with the court announcing Wednesday a series of hearing dates up to March 2011, reported dpa.
Demjanjuk death-camp trial extended

The trial of an alleged Nazi death-camp guard, John Demjanjuk, has been extended, with the court announcing Wednesday a series of hearing dates up to March 2011, reported dpa

When the trial of the 90-year-old former US car industry worker began on November 30, 2009, the trial appointment diary ran to May 2010, but even then, lawyers thought the trial might last till "late 2010." 

Officials blamed the new delay on documentary evidence, each piece of which has to be introduced and debated. About 100 such exhibits have still not yet been brought to court. 

In addition, hearing days are limited. Doctors have recommended the court sits for only two sessions of 90 minutes each day because of Ukraine-born Demjanjuk's advanced age. 

He is accused of having volunteered as a Soviet prisoner of war to work for the Nazis as an SS guard at Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland and is charged as an accessory in the murder of 27,900 Jews in the camp's gas chambers during his service there. 

The defence contends that the proof that he guarded inmates on their way to death at Sobibor is unreliable or forged. 

"We hope the new set of hearing dates will be sufficient," said Barbara Stockinger, a Munich prosecutions spokesman. 

But Demjanjuk's lawyer, Ulrich Busch, said he expected the trial to drag on past the planned March 2 finish into autumn next year. 

One of the documentary exhibits to be brought into the trial is a 1993 judgement of the Israeli Supreme Court which acquitted Demjanjuk of mass murder at a different Nazi death camp, Treblinka. 

German prosecutors, who are not claiming that he worked at Treblinka, contend that the Sobibor allegations are new and have never been heard. Busch contends Demjanjuk is facing double jeopardy, or a repeated trial on identical allegations.

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