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CRIME

Buback murder case reopened against ex-RAF terrorist

German authorities have reopened legal proceedings against former Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist Verena Becker as an accomplice in the leftist drive-by murder of Chief Federal Prosecutor Siegfried Buback and two passengers on April 7, 1977.

Buback murder case reopened against ex-RAF terrorist
The crime scene in Karlsruhe, April 7, 1977. Photo: DPA

Officials will collect DNA samples from Becker and compare them to DNA clues left at the crime scene, spokesperson Sonja Heine told broadcaster Südwestrundfunks on Friday.

“Suspicions have not changed over the last few months,” Heine said.

In December the federal prosecutor’s office revealed that it could not rule out the possibility of a female suspect linked to three clues – on a motorcycle helmet, motorcycle gloves, and a jacket left in the getaway vehicle. But Heine said that analysis using new forensic technology makes Becker a possibility at best and she might be ruled out entirely based on the evidence.

Buback, a strong opponent of the leftist terrorist outfit during his term, was killed along with his driver Wolfgang Göbel, and a judicial officer, Georg Wurster, on the way to the court house in Karlsruhe. A motorcycle pulled up to Buback’s Mercedes at a stoplight, and a passenger on the back opened fire with an automatic weapon.

RAF members Christian Klar, Knut Folkerts, Günter Sonnenberg, Brigitte Mohnhaupt have all been convicted collectively of the crime, but authorities remain unsure of who fired the deadly shots. Michael Buback, the son of the murdered prosecutor has repeatedly named Verena Becker as a possible suspect, and said he welcomed the new investigation, news agency DDP reported.

“I think it’s overdue,” he said.

The federal prosecutor’s office has also been investigating Stefan Wisniewski, after ex-terrorist Peter-Jürgen Boock recently implicated him as the possible shooter.

The head of the investigation at the Federal Court of Justice has threatened Mohnhaupt, Folkerts and Klar – who are no longer incarcerated – with jail time if they don’t break their silence about the event. That decision is currently under review by the court.

Buback’s murder was the first crime in a series of terrorist acts by the militant communist RAF group in their radical opposition to the West German government that came to be known as “German Autumn” in 1977.

ddp/dpa

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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