A former member of the Red Army Faction terrorist gang has denied any involvement in the 1977 murder of West Germany's top prosecutor. It was the first time that Verena Becker has spoken at the trial.
A former member of the Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist group has broken her silence by denying that she had any role in the murder of West Germany's top public prosecutor more than 30 years ago.
"I was not there," Verena Becker told the court in the southern German city of Stuttgart, where she is facing charges of accessory to murder in connection with the killing.
On April 7, 1977, West Germany's prosecutor-general, Siegfried Buback, died in a hail of bullets fired from a gunman on a motorcycle after he had stopped his car at a red light in the south-western city of Karlsruhe.
Becker told the court on Monday that she had never ridden a motorbike or been to Karlsruhe before her original arrest in May of 1977. She also denied having had any part in plotting or executing the attack.
"These accusations are false and I cannot let them stand as they are," the 59-year-old Becker said, adding that she had been "in the Middle East" at the time of the murder.
She said she learned of the murder through Italian newspapers after arriving in Rome on her way back to Germany a day after the attack occurred.
She did, however, concede that the idea of killing Buback had been discussed at a 1976 meeting of RAF members.
She directed some of her comments to Michael Buback, the son of the slain prosecutor-general.
"In all of your articles, which I have read, you wanted to know who killed your father," Becker said. "I cannot answer this question. I was not there."
This was the first time that she has testified since the beginning of her trial 18 months ago. The original case against her in connection with Buback's murder, was closed in 1980. It was reopened in 2008, when prosecutors presented DNA evidence the Becker had handled the paper used in statements to the media claiming responsibility for the attack.
Becker served 12 years of a life sentence in prison for attempted murder, after she was arrested in a shootout with police a month after Buback's murder. She was released on parole in 1989.
pfd/sej (dpa, AFP, Reuters)