Red Army Faction terrorist debate in Germany

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[Detlev Karsten ] Rohwedder was one of the last victims of a German terrorist movement that had horrified a wealthy and fairly complacent society while killing 34 people. Called the Baader-Meinhof gang after its founding members, Ulrike Meinhof and Andreas Baader, the Red Army Faction had its roots in the 1968 student protest movement.

It moved quickly to waging an armed struggle against the capitalist system. This involved bank robberies, bomb attacks on government buildings and U.S. military sites, kidnappings and assassinations.

Rohwedder has returned to the news over the past few days because of the intense and emotional debate surrounding the fate of two leading Red Army Faction terrorists, Brigitte Mohnhaupt and Christian Klar. Each has spent 24 years behind bars. Both are hoping to be freed this year.

Mohnhaupt, 57, is serving five life sentences plus 15 years for her involvement in the murders of a banker, a prosecutor and the president of the employer's federation. Unlike other Red Army Faction prisoners, she has never spoken to journalists, has never applied for clemency and has never expressed regret for her crimes.

In most countries, a terrorist with such a record would never stand a chance for parole. But in Germany, life sentences rarely mean life in prison.

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