33 years after the Red Army Faction assassinated Germany's Attorney General, Verena Becker stands trial. Becker was already pardoned in 1989 from a life sentence and may now face her second one.
Two decades after her pardon, Becker faces prison again
A 57-year-old former member of the far-left Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist group will stand trial for the murder in 1977 of German Attorney General Siegfried Buback and two others, German federal prosecutors announced Wednesday. The three victims were assassinated in Buback's Mercedes by two unidentified RAF members on a motorcycle, carrying an automatic weapon.
Verena Becker served 12 years of a life sentence in prison for attempted murder, after she was arrested in a shootout with police a month after Buback's murder. Police found the murder weapon in Becker and fellow RAF member Guenter Sonnenberg's possession, but prosecutors dropped their case against Becker in 1980.
Becker was released in 1989, by pardon from then President Richard von Weizsaecker.
A possible second life sentence
Authorities arrested Becker again last August in Berlin, after they say new DNA evidence proved a link between Becker and the Buback murder.
Investigators have found Becker's DNA on posted envelopes containing the RAF's claim of responsibility for Buback's murder. Although prosecutors have ruled out that Becker was the shooter, Becker would be eligble for a new life sentence if found guilty of complicity.
Buback and two others were shot to death in his Mercedes by a motorcycle passenger
Siegfried Buback's son, Michael Buback, said he felt "extraordinarily relieved" by prosecutors' decision to pursue the case.
"It's about bringing the truth to light," he said. "It's important, not just for me but also for the country and for our state of law."
Former RAF terrorists Christian Klar and Knut Folkerts were already sentenced to prison in the early 1980s for their roles in the Buback murders.
Author: David Levitz (AFP/AP/apn/dpa/Reuters)
Editor: Rob Turner