A court in Munich has freed 91-year-old John Demjanjuk just hours after finding him guilty of being an accessory to mass murder during his time at the Sobibor concentration camp in Poland and sentencing him to five years in jail. He was released because of his advanced age.
Ukraine-born Demjanjuk has always maintained he was drafted into the Soviet Army in 1941 before becoming a German prisoner of war, then given a choice; death or becoming a camp guard.
An estimated quarter of a million Jews were exterminated at Sobibor, but it was not the first time Demjanjuk had been tried for such crimes.
In 1986 Israel had him extradited from the USA to face accusations he was the notorious “Ivan the Terrible”, a guard at Treblinka camp in Poland. He was found guilty and sentenced to death in 1988, but released five years later after new evidence proved he was not Ivan.
He returned to Cleveland, Ohio, where he had emigrated in 1952, becoming a US citizen six years later and raising a family. But Washington stripped him of his citizenship for lying about his past in 2002, and ordered his deportation in 2005.
No country wanted him.
He was finally deported after Germany issued an arrest warrant in 2009 to face the Sobibor charges, and has been in prison near Munich ever since. His family say his health is so poor he should never have been prosecuted.