- Title: GERMANY / FILE: Former Red Army Faction guerrilla Klar's clemency plea rejected
- Date: 8th May 2007
- Summary: BONN, GERMANY (FEBRUARY 1, 2007)(REUTERS) INTERIOR MUG SHOT OF FORMER RED ARMY FACTION (RAF) GUERILLA CHRISTIAN KLAR AND OTHER RAF MEMBERS LETTER WITH LARGE RAF-LOGO STAMPED ACROSS INTERIOR MUG SHOT OF FORMER RED ARMY FACTION (RAF) GUERILLA CHRISTIAN KLAR AND OTHER RAF MEMBERS
- Embargoed: 23rd May 2007 11:57
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,History
- Reuters ID: LVA5GQFEW6IN11CDD4C3MEARB7GI
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: German President Horst Koehler on Monday (May 7) rejected a pardon for former member of Germany's Red Army Faction (RAF) Christian Klar who has spent over 24 years in prison for his role in killings that shook West Germany in the 1970s.
Klar's attorney Wolfgang Kaleck told Reuters he and his client had agreed not to comment on the decision itself made by German President Koehler.
"I think it is clear to everyone that Christian Klar is no longer dangerous according to the categories of penal law and should be taking his first steps in freedom right now", Kaleck said, demanding there should be now further steps taken to bring his client closer to his release scheduled for 2009. "Slowly, then there must be further steps like holidays and furlough, he must be able to do an apprenticeship so the perspective of being set free in 2009 can be guaranteed. The perspective I think played a certain role in the president's decision making" Kaleck said. He called for former RAF members to lobby for their former comrades still held in prison.
"I feel that many protagonists of that time could be at least speaking up for those RAF prisoners still held in prison to make sure they are not being held unbearably long and in an inacceptable fashion", Kaleck said.
The President's office said Koehler had also rejected a plea for clemency by Birgit Hogefeld, an RAF militant who was convicted in 1996 of the murder of U.S. soldier Edward Pimental in Wiesbaden in 1985. She has been in prison since 1993.
Unlike Klar, Hogefeld has publicly shown remorse for her crimes, and Koehler said her plea could yet be reconsidered.
A court convicted Klar on nine counts of murder and 11 counts of attempted murder in 1985. Among those murdered were Hanns Martin Schleyer, chief of Germany's employers' federation, and Juergen Ponto, the head of Dresdner Bank, both in 1977.
The office said Koehler had based his rejection on the opinions of legal experts, prison authorities and a criminal assessment of Klar, who is 54 years old. Koehler also met Klar personally and held talks with relatives of the RAF's victims.
Koehler's meeting with Klar on Friday sparked an outcry among some conservatives, who threatened to oppose his re-election for a second term in office if he granted a pardon.
Those who opposed clemency argued that Klar had expressed no remorse for his deeds and done nothing to help clear up RAF crimes that peaked during the infamous "German Autumn" of 1977.
German police have never been able to establish exactly which members carried out a number of the individual killings.
Last month Germany reopened an investigation into the RAF murder of federal prosecutor Siegfried Buback in 1977 following allegations by a former group member that a court had pinned the shooting on the wrong men. Klar was among those convicted.
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