Former terrorist arrested for 1970s murder of top German prosecutor

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Former terrorist Verena Becker has been arrested after new evidence surfaced linking her to the murder of German Federal Prosecutor General Siegfried Buback and two bodyguards in 1977.

The 57-year-old was a member of the Red Army Faction, a communist terror group that hoped to trigger a workers' revolution. Most of the organisation's other members were sentenced to lengthy jail sentences for this and other killings, but the case against Becker in Buback's slaying was dropped for lack of evidence, and she was later pardoned from her convictions in other crimes.

[Verena Becker was involved in] "essential contributions to the preparation and execution of the attack."

—Becker's arrest warrant

The case was reopened last year, and new technology was able to recover DNA evidence from at least one envelope containing a letter of responsibility from the terrorists, who were also known as the Baader-Meinhof group after their co-founders. This DNA matched Becker, who now lives in Berlin.

Becker's apartment was raided last week, and police recovered other evidence linking Becker to the killings, including a manuscript of a book she was working on about the crime. According to her arrest warrant, she was involved in "essential contributions to the preparation and execution of the attack."

Buback was gunned down in his car by a masked assassin on a motorcycle. Which Red Army Faction member was the gunman has never been determined, and Becker has always denied direct involvement. She has been free since 1989, when she was pardoned for six attempted assassinations.