Former RAF member cleared by DNA report

23rd July 2008, Comments 0 comments

30 years after she was arrested for murdering a high court judge, former left wing radical Verena Backer has been proved innocent using DNA analysis

Karlsruhe -- More than 30 years after the event, DNA evidence has been used to clear the name of left wing militant Verena Becker with regard to the 1977 assassination of senior judge Siegfried Buback

Becker, a former member of the radical Rote-Armee Faktion group (RAF) was the chief suspect in the unsolved murder, in which Buback was shot from a passing motorbike.

Comparison using modern DNA techniques has now confirmed that Becker was not the assassin on the motorbike, though prosecutors are no closer to naming the real perpetrator.

Using samples from the helmet and motorcycle gloves of the actual assassin and comparing them with a blood sample donated by Becker herself, scientists concluded that it was not possible for Becker to have been the assassin.

A statement from the Office of the Federal Prosecutor in Karlsruhe said, " According to the findings of the government criminology institute in Wiesbaden, Verena Backer can be ruled out as the co perpetrator by the traces left on the presented evidence."

During the 1970s the RAF assassinated or kidnapped a number of prominent figures from German business and society, which it deemed to be antidemocratic and corrupt.

The RAF, or the Baader-Meinhof gang as it was christened by the press after two of its founding members, struck fear into the heart of German bourgois society, sparking a nationwide manhunt for its members and further escalating tensions between the left and right.

1977 was a deadly year, escalating in the deutscher Herbst (German autumn), a two month period of sustained political violence which saw the eventual suicide of senior RAF figures Andreas Baader, Gundrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe in prison and the hijacking of a Lufhansa airliner.

Becker herself is a controversial figure, having given evidence against several other former RAF members over the years.

Dominic Hinde

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