A federal court on Tuesday delayed the deportation of alleged Nazi guard John Demjanjuk, shortly after the 89-year-old Ohio man had been removed from his home by Immigration agents, The Chicago Tribune reported.
Demjanjuk was taken from his suburban Cleveland house in a wheelchair. Relatives and medical personnel surrounded him as he was placed in a white van by federal agents.
Then he was driven to a federal facility to await an airplane to Germany, where he would have faced charges in connection with the deaths of 29,000 people in a Nazi-run death camp in occupied Poland during World War II.
But the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati granted a stay of the deportation order, the latest development in a case that has stretched for decades.
Demjanjuk was driven to his home in Seven Hills after his release, former son-in-law and family spokesman Ed Nishnic said. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency will supervise him through electronic monitoring.
In granting the stay, the three-judge appeals panel said it would further consider Demjanjuk`s motion to reopen the U.S. case that ordered the deportation.
Nishnic said his former father-in-law moaned in pain as he was placed in the wheelchair. "It was horrendous. He was in such pain. I wouldn`t want to see anyone go through something like that," said granddaughter Olivia Nishnic, 20.
Demjanjuk`s family has argued that he is too old and frail to be deported and has maintained that he was not a Nazi guard. But critics and the U.S. government have dismissed those claims.
"Every day they [prison guards] helped murder innocent civilians and cut off their possibility of life," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.
Demjanjuk, a retired autoworker, has repeatedly denied that he was a prison guard for the Nazis, rejecting accusations that he was known as "Ivan the Terrible" in Treblinka during World War II. An Israeli court convicted him in 1988 of war crimes, but that conviction was overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court. He then was returned to the U.S.
In 2002 his U.S. citizenship was revoked by a court on the grounds that he had lied to Immigration officials. The Justice Department maintained that Demjanjuk had hid his service at Sobibor and other death and forced-labor camps run by the Nazis. An Immigration judge ruled in 2005 that he could be deported to Germany, Poland or Ukraine.