Germany reminded of '70s terrorism as a clemency plea fails

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BERLIN -- Germany's president has refused a clemency request from a former left-wing terrorist serving life in prison for taking part in killings carried out by the notorious Red Army Faction three decades ago, his office said Monday.

The plea by Christian Klar, who has been jailed for 24 years and is not eligible for parole until 2009, has made Germans relive harrowing days in 1977 when a small band of radicals that emerged from the student anti-war movement of the 1960s turned to terror. Fighting what they viewed as U.S. imperialism and capitalist oppression of workers in what was then West Germany, the group killed 34 people before declaring itself disbanded in 1998.

The RAF was also sometimes called the Baader-Meinhof gang after two members, Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof, both of whom killed themselves in prison.

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