War crimes trial told of 'fabricated' ID card

Lawyers representing the suspected Holocaust camp guard John Demjanjuk demanded that Germany suspend his war crimes trial yesterday after producing an FBI report which suggested that a key piece of evidence against him could have been fabricated.

Ukrainian-born Mr Demjanjuk, 90, is accused of being a guard at the SS death camp at Sobibor in Nazi-occupied Poland during the Second World War. He is on trial in Munich, where he is charged with helping to murder some 28,000 Dutch Jews at the camp.

Yesterday Mr Demjanjuk's lawyers produced a declassified FBI field office report dating from 1985 which cast doubt on the authenticity of a Nazi ID card which purportedly shows that Mr Demjanjuk served as a guard at the camp.

Ulrich Busch, his defence lawyer, demanded that judges suspend the case. "Prosecutors have not introduced all the possibly exculpatory evidence from the United States during this trial," he insisted.

The FBI report, only recently made public, claimed that Mr Demjanjuk's Sobibor ID card, which had been previously hidden in Russian archives, was "quite likely fabricated" by KGB agents in the former Soviet Union.

German prosecutors have relied heavily on Mr Demjanjuk's ID card as proof that he actually served as a guard at the Sobibor extermination camp. However Mr Demjanjuk's defence lawyers have argued repeatedly that his ID card and other evidence against him are merely Soviet forgeries. The FBI report, which was leaked to the Associated Press, is the first known confirmation that US investigators had similar doubts.

Judges at his trial yesterday initially dismissed the FBI report as "insignificant".