Toronto Star | 02Oct2009 | Associated Press

German court rules Demjanjuk trial to go ahead

MUNICH, Germany – A German court said Friday it has ruled that John Demjanjuk can be tried on charges of being an accessory to the murder of thousands at a Nazi death camp, and that the trial likely will start in early November.

The Munich state court said it accepted prosecutors' indictment against the 89-year-old on Thursday, a necessary step in German legal proceedings, and ordered that Demjanjuk remain in custody.

Exact trial dates have not yet been set but proceedings likely will start "at the beginning of November," the court said in a statement.

Demjanjuk was charged in July with being an accessory to the murder of 27,900 people at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland where prosecutors allege he served as a guard.

The charges were filed after doctors determined that Demjanjuk was fit to stand trial as long as court hearings do not exceed two 90-minute sessions per day.

They carry a possible maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

The retired Ohio autoworker maintains he was a Red Army soldier who was held as a prisoner of war and never hurt anyone.

Demjanjuk arrived in Munich in May after losing a lengthy court battle to avoid deportation from the U.S.

Among the documents obtained by Munich prosecutors is an SS identity card that features a photo of a young, round-faced Demjanjuk along with his height and weight, and that says he worked at Sobibor.