Spain indicts alleged 3 ex-Nazis

A Spanish judge indicted three alleged ex-Nazi death camp guards Thursday on charges of being accessories to genocide and crimes against humanity.

Judge Ismael Moreno of the National Court issued international arrest warrants against the three: Johann Leprich, Anton Tittjung and Josias Kumpf. The 18-page indictment says Kumpf apparently lives in Austria and other two in the United States.

The judge acted under Spain's observance of the principle of universal jurisdiction. This allows particularly heinous crimes such as genocide, torture or terrorism to be prosecuted in Spain, even if they are alleged to have been committed elsewhere.

Moreno has been investigating since July 2008 at the request of Spaniards who were held at Nazi death camps.

Moreno wrote Thursday that he has concluded the three were members of the Nazis' Totenkopf SS and served in death camps, either Mauthausen in Nazi-occupied Austria or Sachsenhausen in Germany.

A fourth suspect named in the original complaint, retired Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk, was deported from the United States to Germany in May and faces trial there. He is not included in the Spanish indictment.

Of the other three, Moreno said his probe turned up evidence that they "were members of the Totenkopf SS, served as armed guards in places designed for the persecution of persons for political, ethnic and racial reasons."

Tittjung lives in Kewaunee, Wisconsin, and Leprich near Detroit, Michigan. Kumpf was believed to make his home in Racine, Wisconsin. But the judge said he now apparently lives in Austria.

[Source: By Daniel Wools, The Associated Press, Madrid, 17Sep09]

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