Germany: deporting Nazi suspect not 'torture'

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A German justice official denied Saturday that the deportation of suspected Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk from the U.S. to Germany for possible trial would amount to torture.

Demjanjuk won a reprieve Friday _ his 89th birthday _ from his ordered deportation to Germany. The retired autoworker, who lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, argued that given his frail health, the deportation would have amounted to torture.

Demjanjuk was originally expected to arrive Monday in Munich, where justice officials had planned to determine if he was fit to stand trial. They hoped then to charge him with 29,000 counts of acting as an accessory to murder at the Sobibor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II.

He has denied any involvement in any deaths.

But a U.S. immigration judge Friday ordered that Demjanjuk's deportation be put on hold until a U.S. court can rule on his request to reopen the U.S. case that ordered his removal.

Demjanjuk asked earlier in the week for asylum in the U.S. and said in a statement that deportation "will expose me to severe physical and mental pain that clearly amount to torture under any reasonable definition of the term."

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