German court to rule on paroling terrorist

9th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

9 February 2007, Stuttgart, Germany (dpa) - A German court is to rule Monday on whether one of the "second-generation" leaders of the Red Army Faction (RAF) leftist terrorist group should be paroled after 24 years in custody. Federal prosecutors applied last month for Brigitte Mohnhaupt, 57, to be released early. Her campaign of kidnapping and assassination 30 years ago created one of Germany's worst political crises of the 1970s. She is serving a life term for her part in murdering Hanns-Martin Schleyer,

9 February 2007

Stuttgart, Germany (dpa) - A German court is to rule Monday on whether one of the "second-generation" leaders of the Red Army Faction (RAF) leftist terrorist group should be paroled after 24 years in custody.

Federal prosecutors applied last month for Brigitte Mohnhaupt, 57, to be released early. Her campaign of kidnapping and assassination 30 years ago created one of Germany's worst political crises of the 1970s.

She is serving a life term for her part in murdering Hanns-Martin Schleyer, head of the German employers' federation, Siegfried Buback, federal prosecutor general, and Juergen Ponto, chief executive of Dresdner Bank, in 1977.

Many Germans have voiced anger in recent weeks that her punishment might be commuted and that she might even be invited to appear on TV talk shows to explain why she tried to destroy democracy. She has never explicitly apologized for the bloodshed.

A founder member of the RAF, she rose to its collective leadership in 1977 after most of its original leaders committed suicide in jail and was not captured until 1982.

Court spokeswoman Josefine Koeblitz said Friday the decision would be announced by a state superior court in Stuttgart which heard the parole submissions behind closed doors on January 22.

Support for parole from the prosecutors makes it likely, but judges can decide either way. Prosecutors said their considered view was that she was no longer likely to resume her terrorist ways as she did after being detained between 1972 and 1977.

At trial she was convicted of leading the appalling abduction of Schleyer, who was murdered weeks later by his captors. She is serving five concurrent life terms and a 15-year term with a rider that she serve at least 24 years, a period that will expire on March 26.

Jailers at Aichach Prison in Bavaria say she has been well-behaved and has made nine excursions under guard to see the outside world.

If she were released, only three members of the RAF, which dissolved itself in the 1990s, would remain in custody. The longest-serving, Christian Klar, 54, has applied to German President Horst Koehler for clemency.

The RAF, made up of middle-class students and intellectuals, believed that killing top Germans would lead to a police state and then persuade the working class to revolt. But West Germany preserved democracy and gradually caught most of the terrorists.

The original RAF leaders, Ulrike Meinhof, Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin, committed suicide in jail in 1976 and 1977.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article