CLEVELAND (AP) - An immigration appeals board ruled Friday that retired autoworker John Demjanjuk can be deported to Germany to face charges that he served as a Nazi death camp guard during World War II.
Demjanjuk's son, John Demjanjuk Jr., said the family hoped to appeal to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday but was not certain that timing would be possible.
The board's denial of an emergency stay of deportation makes it more likely Demjanjuk will soon be sent to face a warrant claiming he was an accessory to some 29,000 deaths at the Sobibor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943. Once in Germany, he could be formally charged in court.
Demjanjuk (pronounced dem-YAHN'-yuk), a native Ukrainian, has denied involvement in any deaths, saying that he was a Russian soldier who was a prisoner of war, held by the Germans. He came to the United States after World War II as a refugee.
The 89-year-old suburban Cleveland man filed a mo tion to the board in Falls Church, Va., saying that he is in poor health and that being forced to travel to Germany would amount to torture.
He also asked the board to reopen the U.S. case that ordered him deported. The board had not yet ruled on that request.
The U.S. Department of Justice opposed his motions.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Pat Reilly would say only that officials would "remove him when the time is appropriate," but she referred all other questions to the Department of Justice.
There was no immediate response to an e-mail sent to Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Justice Department's special investigations unit, or to a phone message left with a Justice Department spokeswoman.
A phone message left with Demjanjuk's attorney, John Broadley, was not immediately returned.
Demjanjuk, of Seven Hills, has said he suffers severe spinal, hip and leg pain and has a bone marrow disorder, kidney disease, anemia, kidney stones, arthritis, gout and spinal deterioration.
He had been told to expect deportation last Sunday, but it was blocked by an immigration judge's stay that expired Wednesday.
Demjanjuk first gained U.S. citizenship in 1958. It was revoked in 1981 based on Justice Department allegations that he had served as the notorious Nazi guard "Ivan the Terrible" in Poland at the Treblinka death camp.
He was extradited to Israel in 1986, and two years later he was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He appealed, and Israel's Supreme Court in 1993 ruled that evidence indicated that Demjanjuk was not Ivan the Terrible and allowed him to return to the United States.
His U.S. citizenship was restored in 1998 but revoked again in 2002. The Justice Department renewed its case, arguing that he had served at Sobibor and other death or forced labor camps.
In 2005, an immigration judge ruled he could be deported to Ukraine, Poland or Germany.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.