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CRIME

Ex-RAF terrorist ruled out as Buback murder suspect

A new DNA test has shown that former Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist Verena Becker was not an accomplice in the leftist drive-by murder of Chief Federal Prosecutor Siegfried Buback and two passengers on April 7, 1977.

Ex-RAF terrorist ruled out as Buback murder suspect
The scene of the 1977 Buback murder. Photo: DPA

In early June German authorities reopened legal proceedings against Becker after 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 federal prosecutor spokesman Frank Wallenta announced on Tuesday in Karlsruhe that Becker was no longer a suspect due to the DNA evidence.

Siegfried Buback, a strong opponent of the leftist terrorist group 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 in 1977. A motorcycle pulled up to Buback’s Mercedes at a stoplight, and a passenger on the back opened fire with an automatic weapon.

But Becker has been “ruled out” from the investigation after the negative findings from the forensic institute at the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA), Wallenta said.

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 had repeatedly named Verena Becker as a possible suspect.

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 new 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

101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

A 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard on Monday once again denied being complicit in war crimes during the Holocaust as his trial drew to a close in Germany.

101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

Josef Schütz, the oldest person so far to face trial over Nazi crimes during World War II, is accused of involvement in the murders of 3,518 prisoners at the Sachsenhausen camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, between 1942 and 1945.

The pensioner, who now lives in Brandenburg state, has pleaded innocent throughout the trial, saying he did “absolutely nothing” and was not aware of the gruesome crimes being carried out at the camp.

“I don’t know why I am here,” he said again at the close of the proceedings, his voice wavering.

Dressed in a grey shirt and pyjama bottoms and sitting in a wheelchair, Schütz insisted he had had nothing to do with the atrocities and was “telling the truth”.

READ ALSO: Ex-Nazi death camp secretary who fled trial to face court in Germany

Prosecutors say he “knowingly and willingly” participated in the crimes as a guard at the camp and are seeking to punish him with five years behind bars.

But Schütz’s lawyer, Stefan Waterkamp, said that since there were no photographs of him wearing an SS uniform, the case was based on “hints” of his possible involvement.

“As early as 1973, investigators had information about him but did not pursue him. At the time, witnesses could have been heard but now they are all dead or no longer able to speak,” Waterkamp said.

Former Nazi guard

The 101-year-old former Nazi guard covers his face at the Neuruppin courthouse. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

It would be a mistake for the court to try to “make up for the mistakes of a previous generation of judges”, the lawyer said.

Antoine Grumbach, 80, whose father died in Sachsenhausen, told AFP Schuetz “does not want to remember”, calling it “a form of defence”.

The trial was not just about “putting a centenarian in prison”, he said. It had also produced evidence that Sachsenhausen was an “experimental extermination camp”.

“All the cruellest methods were invented there and then exported,” Grumbach said.

READ ALSO: Trials of aging Nazis a ‘reminder for the present’, says German prosecutor

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