A German magistrate has ordered the arrest of two former left-wing terrorists in a bid to force them to name their accomplices during a 1977 assassination. But they aren't likely to go back behind bars anytime soon.
The judge called for the arrest of Brigitte Mohnhaupt, a leader of the Red Army Faction (RAF), was released on parole less than a year ago and Knut Folkerts, who was paroled in 1995 after serving part of a life term for the murder of Siegfried Buback, West Germany's federal prosecutor at the time.
However neither faces immediate arrest, since the order gave them leave to appeal and was frozen for the time being, federal prosecutors said Thursday, Jan. 3.
After ex-terrorists gave news interviews last year hinting that one of the masked gunmen was never brought to justice, federal prosecutors reopened the inquiry, but the leftists refused to answer questions though prosecutors said they had no right to withhold information.
Klar's petition for clemency was denied by the German president last year
Mohnhaupt, Folkerts and a former RAF leader who is still in jail, Christian Klar, would be imprisoned for contempt if the arrest order is upheld. German law provides for up to six months custody to force people to cooperate with the law.
The agony of 1977, when assassinations and kidnappings by RAF terrorists reached a peak, continues to transfix Germany, with a substantial number of people from the same generation regarding the group's members as flawed heroes.
The RAF, also known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang, dreamed of making Germany a communist state and believed it could provoke a revolution by its campaign of violence against business and political leaders. It later dissolved itself.
Buback was shot dead from a motorcycle by two masked attackers who never admitted their identities.