Demjanjuk lawyer demands acquittal in Nazi death camp trial

Other News Materials 3 May 2011 14:31 (UTC +04:00)

The lawyer for John Demajanjuk, the 91-year old accused of being an accessory to 27,900 Nazi death camp murders, demanded the his acquittal Tuesday, telling a Munich court the case was unproved.

Lawyer Ulrich Busch spoke outside the courtroom, just before he began summing up the defence case. Judges are expected to hand down a verdict soon, probably next week, in what may turn out to be the world's last major trial for Holocaust crimes, DPA reported.

"What I am seeking is obvious: acquittal for the accused, release from detention and compensation for the detention," Busch said.

Prosecutors have demanded Demjanjuk serve six years in jail. A succession of relatives of Holocaust victims, admitted to the trial as civil co-prosecutors, asked the judges to hand down a deterrent sentence.

Busch has insisted the prosecution, based mainly on documents, does not prove his Ukraine-born client, a former Red Army soldier, committed any crimes after becoming a German prisoner of war.

Prosecutors say Demjanjuk accepted employment as an SS auxiliary, serving from March until September 1943 at Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland while Jews were being taken to the site and killed in gas chambers.

As there is no eyewitness evidence that Demjanjuk killed any individual, he has been charged with being an accessory to murder rather than with more serious charges. The maximum possible penalty is 15 years in prison.

Demjanjuk was deported two years ago from the United States where he lived for decades.