Page last updated at 12:40 GMT, Friday, 3 July 2009 13:40 UK

Demjanjuk cleared to stand trial

John Demjanjuk (2005)
Mr Demjanjuk says he was a prisoner of war of the Nazis during World War II

The alleged Nazi war criminal, John Demjanjuk, has been declared fit enough to stand trial in Germany.

The announcement followed a medical check. Earlier he had been transferred from a Munich prison to hospital after developing gout, a joint disease.

The 89-year-old was deported from the United States to Germany in May after a long extradition battle.

He has denied accusations that he was a guard at the Sobibor death camp and an accessory to the murder of 29,000 Jews.

Mr Demjanjuk says he was captured by Germans in his native Ukraine while fighting for the Red Army and kept as a prisoner of war.

He arrived in the US in 1952 as a refugee, settling in Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked in the car industry.

Formal charges

In 1988 he was sentenced to death in Israel for crimes against humanity, after Holocaust survivors identified him as a notorious guard at the Treblinka death camp.

But the Israeli Supreme Court overturned that conviction and he returned to the US.

Prosecutors now say they have documents that prove his Nazi background, including an SS identity card which shows he was posted to the death camp in Sobibor in 1943, and many witness testimonies.

The Munich prosecutors said Mr Demjanjuk was fit to face trial on condition that the court sessions were no more than two 90-minute periods daily.

Prosecutors plan to file formal charges later this month.

Mr Demjanjuk's family argue that he is too ill to go on trial.

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