Hans-Joachim Klein, a former German terrorist and assassin serving a sentence for a triple-murder, was unexpectedly pardoned and released on Tuesday by the Justice Ministry in the state of Hesse. Klein, who had close links to outlawed terrorist group Red Army Faction, stormed the conference of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting in Vienna in 1975 together with a six-member strong commando group under the leadership of Venezuelan terrorist Carlos. Three people died in the ensuing hostage crisis. Klein was sentenced in Feb. 2001 to nine years in prison on charges of murder and hostage-taking. Klein’s pardon on Tuesday has sparked much criticism in Germany. Peter Ramsauer, deputy parliamentary leader of the opposition Christian Social Union said in an interview with the newspaper Bild that it was "a highly questionable decision." Ramsauer added: "What should the relative of the victims think, when such Christmas presents are distributed to terrorists."