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CRIME

Ex-RAF’s Becker arrested for murder

Former Red Army Faction terrorist Verena Becker was arrested on Friday for her suspected role in the leftist assassination of West Germany’s Chief Federal Prosecutor Siegfried Buback more than 30 years ago.

Ex-RAF's Becker arrested for murder
Verena Becker and Siegfried Buback. Photo: DPA

The now 57-year-old is thought to have made a “crucial contribution in the preparation and execution of the attack,” according to prosecutors in Berlin. The authorities said last week that new DNA evidence had implicated Becker in the politically motivated killing on April 7, 1977.

Her genetic material was found on several envelopes of letters claiming responsibility for the murder of Buback, who was a strong opponent of the RAF. The leftist terror group killed him 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.

Her arrest comes as a surprising turn in the ongoing investigation into one of the highest-profile killings carried out by the RAF. Only last year, investigators said testing on a motorcycle glove, helmet and jacket found after Buback’s death had ruled out any connection to Becker.

Becker was released from jail some 20 years ago after serving several years for RAF related crimes.

Former RAF members Christian Klar, Knut Folkerts, Günter Sonnenberg, Brigitte Mohnhaupt have all been convicted collectively of the Buback murder, 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.

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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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