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CRIME

Motorcycle used in RAF killing turns up in private garage

A motorcycle secured a few days ago by police is likely the vehicle used by the leftist terrorist group the Red Army Faction (RAF) in the notorious shooting of West Germany's federal prosecutor Siegfried Buback in 1977.

Motorcycle used in RAF killing turns up in private garage
Photo: DPA

Also known as the the Baader-Meinhof gang, the leftists killed Buback and two others when an unidentified gunman fired a spray of bullets at his chauffeured car on April 7 that year.

“The motorcycle in question is evidently the motorcycle used in the crime,” a spokesperson for the federal prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe said on Monday.

The find comes in the midst of a trial against former RAF member Verena Becker, who is accused of playing a role in the political assassination. She is not suspected of pulling the trigger, though Buback’s son has said he is convinced the 58-year-old was the shooter.

Other members of the group have already been convicted for the killing, but the actual murderer has never been identified.

Whether investigators will be able to find any DNA traces on the vehicle remains unclear, the spokesperson said.

“It’s being clarified as to whether today’s forensic methods can even secure traces relevant to the crime,” he said.

Police did initially secure the motorcycle, a 1977 Suzuki GS 750, shortly after the shooting. But after they completed their investigation, the vehicle was sold “because it was no longer needed as evidence.”

According to daily Pforzheimer Zeitung on Saturday, the vehicle was purchased in 1982 at a discounted price by a man in Böblingen county, who found it listed in a local paper.

The man has apparently not driven the motorcycle for the last 10 years.

Last week at Becker’s trial, a federal police investigator said that important court exhibits from the Buback murder trial – namely the motorcycle and the getaway car – had gone missing.

The Baader-Meinhof gang, named after its founders Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof, attacked Buback in one of several RAF crimes staged in protest of what they saw as the oppressive West German state. The bloody era came to be known as the “German Autumn.”

DAPD/DPA/ka

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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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