Former Ohioan accused of aiding Nazis loses immigration appeal

By VICKIE CHACHERE, Associated Press Writer

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The Board of Immigration Appeals has upheld the deportation of an 82-year-old man accused of aiding Nazis who occupied his Lithuanian hometown, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Algimantas Dailide of Gulfport intends on appealing the ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals to a federal appeals court in Atlanta, said his attorney, Joseph McGinness of Cleveland.

Dailide, a retired real estate agent from the Cleveland area, had his U.S. citizenship revoked in 1997 after government investigators accused him of playing a role in the arrests of Jews in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Most of the 60,000 Jews who lived in Vilnius were slain during a few months in the fall of 1941. Dailide is accused of being a member of the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian Security Police, known as the Saugumas, who took part in the arrests of Jews.

According to a statement released Thursday by Christopher A. Wray, assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division, the immigration board based in Falls Church, Va., found Dailide participated in a scheme in which Jews were promised they would be smuggled out of Vilnius, but were then turned over to Nazi security forces.

The BIA stated that Dailide's "work directly resulted in the persecution of Jews who were detained, interrogated, imprisoned, placed in inhumane ghettos, or otherwise punished, and they were almost certainly killed."

Three other former members of Saugumas have also been stripped of their citizenship.

McGinness has argued that Dailide was not involved in war crimes and documents that linked Dailide to war crimes might be fakes.

"He's very disappointed about it, and so am I," McGinness said of the board's ruling. "There weren't any crimes in this case at all."

In January, three judges of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati unanimously rejected Dailide's request to be granted a hearing to present new evidence to challenge the 1997 stripping of his citizenship.

Dailide remains free at the home he shares with his 85-year-old wife, but could be arrested under the board's order, McGinness said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)