Daesh left 200 mass graves in Iraq

StarMetro Toronto - - CANADA & WORLD - David Ris­ing Falih Has­san and Rod Nordland

De­fen­dant tells pros­e­cu­tors he was un­aware of the killings and did not par­tic­i­pate in them MUENSTER, GER­MANY—A 94year-old for­mer SS en­listed man went on trial Tues­day in Ger­many, fac­ing hun­dreds of counts of ac­ces­sory to mur­der for al­leged crimes com­mit­ted dur­ing the years he served as a guard at the Nazis’ Stut­thof con­cen­tra­tion camp.

Jo­hann Re­hbo­gen was pushed into the Muenster state court trial in a wheel­chair, a wooden cane at his side and brief­case on his lap. He ap­peared alert and at­ten­tive as pre­sid­ing judge Rainer Brack­hane asked him ques­tions, an­swer­ing in slow, con­cise sen­tences.

Re­hbo­gen is ac­cused of work­ing as a guard at the camp east of Danzig, which is to­day the Pol­ish city of Gdansk, from June 1942 to about early Septem­ber 1944.

There is no ev­i­dence link­ing him to a spe­cific crime, but more than 60,000 peo­ple were killed at Stut­thof and pros­e­cu­tors ar­gue that as a guard, he was an ac­ces­sory to at least hun­dreds of those deaths.

The re­tired civil ser­vant showed no re­ac­tion as pros­e­cu­tor An­dreas Bren­del read the ac­cu­sa­tions against him, de­tail­ing the hor­rific way prison­ers at Stut­thof were killed.

Some were given lethal in­jec­tions of gaso­line or phe­nol di­rectly to their hearts, shot or starved.

Oth­ers were forced out­side in win­ter with­out clothes un­til they died of ex­po­sure, or put to death in the gas cham­ber.

“Any­one who heard the screams from out­side the gas cham­ber would have known that peo­ple were fight­ing for their lives,” Bren­del said.

Re­hbo­gen, a for­mer SS Stur­m­mann — roughly equiv­a­lent to the U.S. army rank of spe­cial­ist — does not deny serv­ing in the camp dur­ing the war, but has told in­ves­ti­ga­tors he was un­aware of the killings and did not par­tic­i­pate in them.

No pleas are en­tered in Ger­many and An­dreas Tinkl, one of Re­hbo­gen’s at­tor­neys, would not com­ment on his client’s de­fence.

He said Re­hbo­gen would ad­dress the court at some point dur­ing the trial, which is sched­uled into Jan­uary. For­mer SS guard Jo­hann Re­hbo­gen holds his walk­ing stick at the be­gin­ning of his trial in Muenster, Ger­many, on Tues­day. He is charged with ac­ces­sory to mur­der for serv­ing at the Nazis’ Stut­thof con­cen­tra­tion camp. BAGH­DAD—MORE than 200 mass graves hold­ing as many as 12,000 bod­ies have been found in ar­eas of Iraq that were once con­trolled by Daesh, UN in­ves­ti­ga­tors said on Tues­day.

The 202 graves ver­i­fied by in­ves­ti­ga­tors are con­cen­trated in north­ern and western Iraq.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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