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Germany prosecutors charge ex-Red Army Faction member with murder

[JURIST] German federal prosecutors said Wednesday that they have charged former Red Army Faction (RAF) [advocacy website; JURIST news archive] member Verena Beckman for the 1977 murders of federal prosecutor Siegfried Buback and two other men. Beckman was originally arrested two months after Buback's assassination and served 12 years of a life sentence for her role in other killings before she was pardoned and freed [BBC report] in 1989 by former president Richard von Weizsaecker [profile]. Prosecutors reopened the case in light of new DNA evidence [AP report] linking Beckman to the high-profile murder. The RAF, commonly known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang [BBC backgrounder], was a leftist group that targeted political and financial institutions and personnel, killing 34 people between 1968 and 1998.

Some reports allege that, in the aftermath of the RAF's terrorist attacks, German officials tortured RAF prisoners [JURIST comment] and compromised their trials. In 2008, a German court granted parole [JURIST report] for RAF leader Christian Klar after he served 26 years in prison on nine counts of murder and 11 counts of attempted murder. The court found no grounds [BBC report] on which continue to detain him, and he was released last year. Before being granted parole, Klar had called for the defeat of capitalism [Der Spiegel report] and lost an appeal for clemency [JURIST report]. Other prominent RAF members, including Brigitte Mohnhaupt and Eve Haule [JURIST reports], have also been paroled in recent years.

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