Son of US man sought in Nazi massacre case says he's innocent
The son of a 98-year-old US man sought by Polish authorities in connection with a Nazi massacre says his father is innocent and asks that evidence against him be released.
A court in Poland issued an arrest warrant for Michael Karkoc, opening the way for Poland to seek his extradition from the US on war crimes charges. The Associated Press had previously identified Karkoc as an ex- commander in an SS-led unit that burned Polish villages and killed civilians in WWII.
Karkoc's son, Andriy Karkoc, called on US Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken to intervene in his father's case "on legal and humanitarian grounds" and to investigate the source of the evidence against him, which Andriy Karkoc says was fabricated by Russian intelligence.
"The Associated Press and the KGB may provide something they say is proof," he said. "But what they cannot provide is something that is true. My father was, is, and remains an innocent man."
AP spokeswoman Lauren Easton said the AP stands by its stories, calling them well-documented and thoroughly reported.
Andriy Karkoc said his father served honourably with the Ukrainian Self Defence Legion, and the actions of other people in the unit might be at issue, but his father can't be judged guilty by association.
Poland's decision to issue an arrest warrant comes four years after the AP published a story establishing that Michael Karkoc commanded the unit, based on wartime documents, testimony from other members of the unit and Karkoc's own Ukrainian-language memoir. The AP also established Karkoc lied to American immigration officials to get into the US a few years after the war.
A second report uncovered evidence that Karkoc himself ordered his men in 1944 to attack a Polish village in which dozens of civilians were killed, contradicting statements from his family that he was never at the scene.
Andriy Karkoc has said his father suffers from Alzheimer's disease, but Abramowicz said there was no information to suggest that health conditions could hamper Karkoc from standing trial in Poland.