Alleged Nazi Camp Guard Makes Last Appeal

In this exhibit released by the Department of Justice in Washington on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2002, a World War II-era military service pass for John Demjanjuk is seen. Three decades after the federal government began trying to deport former autoworker John Demjanjuk, claiming that he helped murder Jewish prisoners in Nazi death camps in World War II, his case is due back in court again on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2007. (AP Photo/Department of Justice, file)
AP Photo/Department of Justice
Three decades after the federal government began trying to deport a former autoworker accused of helping murder Jewish prisoners in Nazi death camps, his lawyer says his last fight may be at hand.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals scheduled oral arguments for Thursday on John Demjanjuk's challenge of a final removal order by an immigration judge.

Demjanjuk, now 87, has steadfastly maintained that he was a Nazi prisoner himself, forced to work as a guard, and that he hurt no one.

The Justice Department first brought charges seeking to revoke Demjanjuk's citizenship - for allegedly falsifying information on his applications when entering the U.S. in 1952 and to become a citizen in 1958 - and to deport him in 1977.

Demjanjuk's U.S. citizenship was revoked in 1981, restored in 1998 and revoked again in 2002. The government initially claimed he was the notoriously sadistic guard at the Treblinka camp known as "Ivan the Terrible."

He was extradited to Israel in 1986 and was under a death sentence, until Israel's Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that he was not the same man as the guard known as Ivan.

Demjanjuk returned home and his U.S. citizenship was restored. The current deportation case is based on evidence uncovered by the Justice Department alleging he was a different guard. That evidence led courts to again strip Demjanjuk of his citizenship - on the basis of the original falsified information charge.

In the current case, Demjanjuk's attorney, John Broadley, and the government argue over whether a former chief immigration judge, Michael Creppy, had authority to rule in December 2005 that Demjanjuk could be deported back to his native Ukraine - or Germany or Poland.

Broadley contends that Creppy was an administrator who should have appointed an immigration judge to hear the case, rather than handle it himself. He wants the deportation order tossed out and a new hearing held.

The Board of Immigration Appeals has refused to set aside Creppy's ruling, and Broadley wants the 6th Circuit to review that denial.