German prosecutors appeal John Demjanjuk release

Mon May 16, 2011 11:01am EDT
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By Eric Kelsey

BERLIN (Reuters) - German prosecutors said on Monday they were appealing against a court decision to free convicted Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk, while German investigators pursued at least two similar cases.

A Munich court convicted Demjanjuk, 91, last week in a German court of helping to kill more than 28,000 people at the Sobibor camp in German-occupied Poland during World War Two.

The Munich prosecutor's office said it had filed an appeal against Demjanjuk's five-year prison sentence and his immediate release from jail pending his own appeal against the verdict. Prosecutors had originally demanded a six-year sentence.

The Ukraine-born Demjanjuk was released on Friday after spending two years in jail, including the 18 months of the trial which he attended in a wheelchair, and sometimes lying down.

He is thought to have been moved to a state nursing home in the Munich area, his lawyer Guenther Maull told Reuters.

"That's what I assume but even I don't know," Maull said.

Demjanjuk, who is stateless after being stripped of his U.S. citizenship before his extradition to Germany in 2009, still poses a flight risk, the prosecutor's office said.

German investigators of Nazi-era crimes, meanwhile, have received the green light to pursue similar cases as a result of the Demjanjuk conviction.   Continued...