Setback For RAF Killer Klar: Politicians Say 'Incorrigible' Terrorist Should Stay in Jail

Former left-wing terrorist Christian Klar has damaged his appeal for an early release from jail by calling for the defeat of capitalism in a message to a conference last month.

Klar in 1992 during a trial in Stuttgart.
DPA

Klar in 1992 during a trial in Stuttgart.

Christian Klar, the German left-wing terrorist serving a life sentence for his part in a campaign of murder and kidnappings during the 1970s, may have hurt his prospects for an early release by calling for the defeat of capitalism in a message to a conference in Berlin in January.

Klar, 54, sent a message to the Rosa Luxemburg Conference of left-wing groups in January, declaring that the time had come to "complete the defeat of the plans of capitalism and to open the door to another future."

Klar, who was a member of the ultra-left Red Army Faction, also known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang, has appealed for clemency. German President Horst Köhler is considering his request.

Klar was a key accomplice of Brigitte Mohnhaupt, who is due to be released on parole in March after serving 24 years in jail for murdering prominent establishment figures, including a banker, a federal prosecutor and an industrialist.

Mohnhaupt's release, approved by a court earlier this month, was fiercely criticized by the victims' relatives and conservative politicians, who argued it was too soon to free someone who had shown no remorse for her crimes.

However, she was due for parole this year under the terms of her sentence and the court argued that a release was warranted given that she no longer posed a threat to society. It's different in Klar's case -- even though he has served more than 25 years already, he isn't eligible for parole until 2009. Releasing him now would be an act of clemency rather than part of standard legal process.

Klar, like Mohnhaupt, has not apologized for his actions and politicians from all parties said the anti-capitalist comments he made in January would not help his appeal.

"One can see that Klar is neither prepared nor able to engage in clear, self-critical judgement," Wolfgang Thierse, a member of parliament for the center-left Social Democrats, told the newspaper Berliner Zeitung. Klar had evidently not learned much because he was still using the ideological phrases of 30 years ago, Thierse said.

Günther Beckstein, the conservative interior minister of Bavaria, warned Köhler not to grant clemency. He told the mass-circulation newspaper Bild: "The aggressive tone and the ideological stubbornness show that this is an incorrigible terrorist criminal."

The leader of the liberal Free Democrats party, Guido Westerwelle, took a similar line. "Klar is no reformed criminal," he said. "He remains a convicted serial killer and I strictly oppose granting him clemency."

Reuters/AP/ddp/cro

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