Ex Baader-Meinhof member to face trial: court

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An ex-member of the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the 1970s and 1980s far-left German militant group, will stand trial in September for alleged complicity in a 33-year-old murder, a court said Wednesday.

Verena Becker, 57, was arrested in August over the killing of chief federal prosecutor Siegfried Buback and two others in April 1977 during the bloody era known as the "German Autumn".

The case was reopened in 2008 and forensic technology not available in the 1970s allegedly turned up traces of Becker's DNA on a letter by the gang claiming responsibility for the murders, which saw a figure on a motorbike spray Buback's chauffeur-driven car with gunfire.

At the time of her arrest, prosecutors said there was "no suspicion that the accused fired the deadly shots" but she was however suspected of "an active role in preparing and carrying out" the attack.

She was released in December but remained a suspect and prosecutors indicted her in April. The new trial will take place in the south-western city of Stuttgart, most likely in late September, the court said.

She was sentenced to life imprisonment in December 1977 for taking part in at least six assassination attempts claimed by the group, also known as the Red Army Faction, but in 1989 she was pardoned and released.

The Baader-Meinhof Gang, named after founders Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof, mounted a violent campaign against what it considered was the oppressive capitalist state of West Germany from 1977 to 1982.

It targeted the German elite and US military bases in Germany and is suspected of killing 34 people. It officially disbanded in 1998.

© 2010 AFP

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