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Court jails ex-RAF member for 1977 murder

The Local · 6 Jul 2012, 16:20

Published: 06 Jul 2012 16:20 GMT+02:00

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Verena Becker was convicted for her role in the 1977 RAF murder of Siegfried Buback, then West Germany’s top prosecutor, and two others.

The court in the southern city of Stuttgart said two-and-a-half years she had already served of a previous sentence for membership of a terrorist organization would count in her favour. As a result, Becker may not return to prison.

The court may decide to commute the remaining time to a suspended sentence or, in the case of an appeal, allow Becker to remain free pending a final verdict.

Prosecutors had acknowledged that Becker was not directly involved in the killing, which was the RAF’s most high-profile attack, but claimed she was a major player in planning and implementing the murder. Who actually pulled the trigger remains a mystery.

Breaking her years-long silence on the charges, Becker, now 59, said in her testimony that she "was not there" at the crime scene.

She also denied helping to plan the attack in Karlsruhe. The attack marked the start of the "German Autumn," or the peak of the gang's reign of terror.

The RAF - also known as the Baader-Meinhof gang after its two leaders - took up arms against what it considered an oppressive capitalist state still infested with former Nazis, killing 34 people in attacks on West Germany's elite and on US military bases before disbanding in 1998.

Siegfried Buback, a member of the Nazi party from 1940 to 1945, was killed on his way to work on April 7, 1977. As his Mercedes waited at a traffic light, a motorcycle pulled up next to him and the person on the back opened fire with an automatic weapon, killing Buback, his driver, and a court officer.

The case was closed in 1980, but was reopened in 2008 when Becker's DNA was found on a letter from the gang claiming responsibility for Buback's death. Her trial began in September 2010.

Becker had already been sentenced in 1977 to life in prison for being part of a criminal organization. She was released in 1989 after being pardoned by then-President Richard von Weizsäcker.

Story continues below…

Michael Buback, the son of the murdered prosecutor, had not called for a specific punishment for Becker, though assumed that Becker pulled the trigger. Buback has said he is certain he knows what happened on April 7, 1977, and that Becker’s sentencing would therefore carryno meaning for him.

AFP/DAPD/The Local/mbw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:22 July 6, 2012 by William Thirteen
nice glasses!
18:54 July 6, 2012 by frankiep
Sentenced to 4 years, but time already served for a completely different crime will count for it? So basically this scumbag terrorist was convicted of being an accessory to murder and will most likely not spend a second in prison for it. Between this and the incompetence on display concerning the neo-Nazi murders it seems pretty obvious that the German justice system is at best a joke, and at worst complicit. How can something like this be tolerated?
19:53 July 6, 2012 by Whipmanager
I really am not surprised. the German system goes against rational sentencing often. A doctor kills patients with Lemon Juice, he gets light sentencing, and will practice again in Ten years. This lady, whom I hav eencountered before in my time in the uniform, is a criminal. She is guilty as a part of the crime even if she didnt pull the trigger. Why does it matter she wasn't there. If her actions helped take the life of a German, is that not enough? What message is being sent to all of Germany that hey, don't worry, you can get away with Murder.

This lady is part of a group that killed British and American soldiers. I am not sure if they did any french, but if they didn't it shows that the french weren't really considered enemies of the Communist state, as they were riddled with spies and passed so much info to the soviets that they were protected.

I am angry, in a way I havent been for years. My unit was a target of these guys three times. I personnally was close to death two of those times. If the world allowed Rudolf Hess to stay in prison when he tried to end the war, how can they let her live, breathe another breath...She needs to be in Jail as a minimal punishment. capital punishment would be the right answer.

Sorry for my rant.
20:58 July 6, 2012 by finanzdoktor
Ironic, isn't it? She and her colleagues wanted so much for everyone to know what they had done, and now she professes innocence and knowing nothing of it. Should have gotten the full sentence for lack of remorse, let alone for doing the crime.
21:05 July 6, 2012 by auslanderus
They worry about the rights of the killers. What about the rights of the killed? The law system here sucks in these cases.
00:44 July 7, 2012 by Whipmanager
finanzdoktor: I was so blind I didn't even think of that angle. They were very happy to claim fame in youth when for sure they were going to die at any time, they wanted that firey death,to be a martyr, and when it didn't happen, and they were too cowardly to take their own pitiful lives, they now get smarter, wiser, want to live forever and fear being locked up, now as the cowards they are, they claim innocence. Look at her, put her in a flowered dress, gucci shoes, a nice watch and jewelry, and she is anyone kind old grandmother. So hard to pick out of a line up.
11:48 July 7, 2012 by michael4096
The two reasons for society imprisoning someone are to keep them off the street to protect others and to deter other people from commiting similar crimes. Obviously, the court decided neither applied here.

Locking someone up for revenge costs a lot of money for little or no benefit.
12:51 July 7, 2012 by Herr Rentz
Except for the satisfaction of knowing she's not getting away with what she did.

No, she is probably not a danger to anyone at her age, but she still has to (or should) answer for what she has done.
18:30 July 7, 2012 by schneebeck
"Locking someone up for revenge costs a lot of money for little or no benefit. "

So, you see, it's about money and cost/benefit ratios. The people who don't have their life now is not the priority focus.

Don't look at the lives lost, don't look at it as justice, don't look at it as payment for a horrible action to another human being. It's really just "revenge" your thinking about you neanderthal.
23:49 July 7, 2012 by bassplayer
Let me see if I have this right: In Deutschland, I can kill another person, or for that fact persons, hide awhile, and then get a reduced sentence of say FOUR YEARS?!

Where's the deterrent for crime?!
06:16 July 8, 2012 by gorongoza
For those of you who may wonder at this judgement.

It requires a moral component of a law to pass a deterrent sentence on murderers. A society is guided by this moral not to commit murder of another person. If this moral element does not exist in a society we get judgements similar to the one in Becker`s case. Welcome to Germany !
07:39 July 8, 2012 by belladons
The Baader-Meinhof gang was nothing but a pure, and I mean, pure terrorist organization. The majority of them should have been dealt the death penalty. They purposely planned to murder anyone that did not side with their values, which is always the case. They were scum, still are scum, and will always be. The ones who are now passed from this earth are, in my belief, living in hell and as it should be.
13:23 July 8, 2012 by michael4096
A couple of weeks ago the British queen shook hands with the ex-head of the PIRA, depending on which side you are the head of an army guilty of war crimes and a leading terrorist and murderer. Not much deterrent there either.

This girl didn't kill anyone (as far as we know) but served 11 years for helping those that did kill 34 innocents. She was then pardoned. William Calley did kill 22 innocents and helped kill over 500 innocents in total. He was also pardoned. I assume that all those expressing disgust at the lack of justice for her are equally disgusted by that case.

Personally, I feel that it is better to approach justice logically rather than emotionally.
23:19 July 8, 2012 by Flint
@finanzdoktor. Isn't it interesting how terrorists who claim that their politics justifies murder always deny involvement when it comes time to pay the price?
03:21 July 9, 2012 by schneebeck
"Personally, I feel that it is better to approach justice logically rather than emotionally."

Verena Becker was convicted for her role in the 1977 RAF murder of Siegfried Buback.

She might only have to serve two and a half years out of the four year sentence, but at the most she will pay with 4 years of her life.

Oh, I see.

This is "logical".
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