Germany frees last convicted member of Red Army Faction | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 22.06.2011
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Germany frees last convicted member of Red Army Faction

A German court has granted parole to a Red Army Faction member after 18 years in prison. Birgit Hogefeld, convicted of murder following a bomb attack, was the last convicted member of the group still in jail.

Birgit Hogefeld, pictured in 1994

Hogefeld was captured years after the air base bombing

Birgit Hogefeld, formerly a senior member of the Red Army Faction (RAF), has been released after serving 18 years in jail, German authorities announced Tuesday.

The 54-year-old had been released from Frankfurt-Preungesheim women's prison a day earlier, according to a statement from the Justice Ministry in the state of Hesse.

Hogefeld was a key figure in the later "third generation" of the militant anti-capitalist group, also known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang, and had been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.

Soldier lured away, found dead

At her 1996 trial, she was found guilty of luring an American soldier from a disco in 1985 to obtain his military identity card.

Scene of the bomb attack at the US Rhine-Main Air Base

Two people died and 20 were injured in the air base attack

The body of the soldier, who had been shot in the head, was later found in nearby woods.

The identity card was subsequently used in a bomb attack on the Rhine-Main US air base, which killed two people and wounded 20 others.

Hogefeld was captured in a 1993 gunfight with detectives, in which both her partner Wolfgang Grams and a German police officer died.

A Frankfurt court approved Hogefeld's release in early June, stating that she "has clearly distanced herself from the RAF and has assumed personal responsibility for the RAF crimes at that time.”

One ex-member still on trial

Germany has granted parole to a number of former members of the RAF, which officially disbanded in 1998.

However, another former RAF member may still be jailed for her alleged role in the 1977 killing of West Germany's top prosecutor, Siegfried Buback. Verena Becker is currently on trial for the alleged involvement in his murder, as well as that of his bodyguard and a driver.

The RAF, led by Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof, began its operations in 1970 with the violence reaching its peak in the 1977 "German Autumn" offensive. The group's campaign of bombings, hijackings, assassinations and bank robberies was aimed at triggering an anti-capitalist uprising.

Author: Richard Connor (AP, AFP, dpa)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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