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German police say detained man is not far-left RAF terrorist

February 28, 2024

After the arrest of far-left Red Army Faction (RAF) member Daniela Klette, police also took a man into custody. German authorities have now ruled out the detained suspect is not tied to the group.

German police stand in front of a court
German police are on the hunt for several suspected RAF members, in addition Daniela KletteImage: Sina Schuldt/dpa/picture alliance

After a second arrest in the case of Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist Daniela Klette, a male suspect was released on Tuesday.

The Lower Saxony State Criminal Police Office in Hanover announced that the arrested individual had been ruled out as being one of Klette's fellow fugitives, Ernst-Volker Staub and Burkhard Garweg.

What we know about the case

The public prosecutor's office in the town of Verden in Lower Saxony on Tuesday said the 65-year-old Klette had been caught in Berlin on Monday.

The Lower Saxony State Criminal Police Office later said a man had also been arrested in connection with the operation but that he had yet to be identified. Further investigation was undertaken because the man was of a similar age to the other two suspects.

Hanover police chief Friedo de Vries said Klette had been identified via fingerprints and showed no resistance as she was detained at an apartment in the city's Kreuzberg district. De Fries said police found two pistol magazines as well as cartridges at the apartment.

Germany's mass-circulation Bild newspaper said Klette had been in hiding in Berlin for 20 years, where neighbors said she went by the name of Claudia.

Klette, Staub, and Garweg are said to have tried to use a series of robberies between 1999 and 2016 to finance their lives underground. 

Former German terrorist arrested in Berlin

After a television program recently profiled the case, investigators in Lower Saxony — where many of the robberies took place — said they had received 161 tips about the suspects' potential whereabouts.

Police and special armed units stormed the western German city of Wuppertal's central train station earlier this month after receiving a tip suggesting former left-wing terrorist Ernst-Volker Staub may have been sighted on a train there. Authorities said there had been a false alarm and that the initial suspicions about the man's identity had not been confirmed.

What did the RAF terror group do?

The three are said to have belonged to the so-called third generation of the RAF, also known as the Baader-Meinhof group. 

In the 1970s and 1980s, the RAF conducted a campaign of terror in then-West Germany through attacks and kidnappings, with a total of more than 30 murders attributed to the group. Authorities say the RAF was responsible for wounding another 200 people. 

rc/wd (dpa, AFP)

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