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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

CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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