German judge: No additional jail for terrorists over 1977 murder

15th August 2008, Comments 0 comments

A German court ruled that three RAF terrorists cannot be jailed in order to force them to reveal details of the murder of a German prosecutor two decades ago.

Karlsruhe, Germany -- A German federal court ruled Friday that three left-wing terrorists convicted more than 20 years ago for the 1977 murder of the country's chief prosecutor should not be jailed to force them to reveal details of the crime.

The three members of the Red Army Faction (RAF) -- often known outside Germany as the Baader-Meinhoff group -- have steadfastly refused to reveal who fired the shots that killed Chief Prosecutor Siegfried Buback on April 7, 1977.

The victim's son, Michael Buback, declined to comment directly on the ruling, but said all means should be employed to ascertain the truth.

"All sides should contribute to clearing this up," he told the Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger, in remarks to be published Saturday.

Friday's ruling overturned a decision by an investigating judge earlier this year to jail Brigitte Mohnhaupt, Christian Klar and Knut Folkerts for up to six months to gain information.

The federal court found that the three, two of whom have been released after serving long prison sentences, could refuse to provide information as they could incriminate themselves with regard to other crimes committed by the RAF.

German prosecutors have reopened the investigation into the murder of Buback and two others in the car with him, after a former RAF member, Peter-Juergen Boock, named another former RAF member, Stefan Wisniewski, as the possible gunman.

Mohnhaupt, 59, seen as one of the main ringleaders of the "second-generation" RAF, was arrested in 1982. She was freed in March last year.

Folkerts, 56, was arrested in September 1977 after shooting a Dutch policeman in Utrecht. He was freed in 1995. Klar, 56, remains in prison.

The three were convicted of the murder of Buback, who was shot by a motorcycle pillion passenger as he drove to work in Karlsruhe.

Although the RAF dissolved itself in the 1990s and practically all of its surviving members have served long jail terms, the former terrorists still refuse to disclose exactly how they operated and only grudgingly admit any regrets.

The terrorists were convicted of collectively murdering Buback and cannot be re-tried, but prosecutors -- wanting to help relatives of the dead man achieve closure -- want to know if any accomplice got away with a lesser conviction.

DPA with Expatica

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