Germany frees former terrorist Christian Klar (Lead)

December 19th, 2008 - 8:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Stuttgart, Dec 19 (DPA) Christian Klar, 56, a former leader of the Red Army Faction urban terrorist movement in Germany in the 1970s and 1980s, was released from jail Friday, justice officials in Stuttgart said.Klar was granted parole by judges Nov 24 after he had served 26 years of five concurrent life sentences.

He has not shown remorse for his nine murders during his career as a terrorist, but judges ruled that he no longer posed a danger to society. He must report regularly to police for the next five years.

Some survivors of the Red Army Faction (RAF) spree of violence said last month they were angry that life imprisonment did not mean the full term of Klar’s life.

They also voiced wonderment that Claus Peymann, a maverick director of a taxpayer-funded theatre in Berlin, had offered Klar a post-release job as stage technician there.

Klar’s actual release from Bruchsal Prison in southwestern Germany was delayed until he had served out almost all of 2008.

Heinz-Juergen Schneider, his lawyer, said Klar left the jail during the morning and would not be giving any interviews.

“He is going to decide himself what he will be doing and where,” said Schneider.

Klar co-led the “second generation” of the so-called Baader-Meinhof Gang in a wave of bombings, kidnaps, assassinations and bank robberies.

There is only one RAF member still in jail: Birgit Hogefeld, 52. She was a third-generation leader of the violent communist group, which dissolved itself in 1998.

A feature film released this year, “The Baader-Meinhof Complex”, depicts murders and robberies carried out by the clandestine group.

Judges said in November that Klar, who served longer in jail than any other RAF member, should be freed on or around Jan 3, 2009.

Possibly to thwart media attention, the precise date was not announced in advance.

News reports said the earlier December date was approved because Klar had not taken all of his allocation of day release dates this year. German prisons release inmates for a day at a time so they can learn about life outside.

The parole decision has also been criticized because Klar has continued to observe a vow of silence among the terrorists, refusing to disclose which of the masked figures committed the most brutal murders.

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