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Clemency denied

May 17, 2010

President Horst Koehler of Germany has denied clemency to a leftist terrorist serving a life sentence for the murder of a US soldier and the deadly bombing of an American airbase.

Birgit Hogefeld
No pardon now, but parole is not far offImage: dpa

The office of German President Horst Koehler announced on Monday that a request for clemency, sought by former Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist Birgit Hogefeld, has been rejected.

The decision to deny Hogefeld an early release was made after Koehler personally heard her plea, his office said.

Hogefeld was a third generation member of the leftist RAF terrorist group in the 1980s, which was responsible for the assassinations of Siemens manager Karl-Heinz Beckurts in 1986, Deutsche Bank CEO Alfred Herrhausen in 1989 and Detlev Karsten Rohwedder, the head of the German agency charged with privatizing East German state businesses after unification, in 1991.

While serving her sentence, Hogefeld, who is now 53, distanced herself from the actions of the RAF, but has never given a detailed account, or divulged her knowledge, of the crimes committed by the group.

During her trial in 1993, she said she had lured an American soldier out of a disco in 1985 to obtain his military ID. The man was later found shot in the head in a nearby forest. The ID card was then used to get a car packed with explosives onto the US Rhine-Main airbase in Frankfurt in an attack that killed two people and injured 20 others.

Despite the denial of clemency, Hogefeld will be eligible for parole in June 2011, after serving 18 years of her life sentence.

Editor: Nancy Isenson