[Ppnews] German leftist leader Brigitte Mohnhaupt is released from prison

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Mar 29 11:34:38 EDT 2007

Both these articles are from the mainstream media!

Mohnhaupt and Battisti: Europe's leftist killers

Former German terrorist leader Brigitte Mohnhaupt 
is released from prison a week after Italian 
militant Cesare Battisti's arrest. Europe's extreme left is back to haunt us

Ringleader: Mohnhaupt has walked free (Photo: Gary Philpot/ Flickr)

In the seventies, several extreme left-wing 
revolutionary groups were formed in various 
European states - the Red Brigades (Brigatte 
Rosse, BR) in Italy and Action Directe (AD) in 
France, which was allied with Germany's 'Red Army 
Faction' (Rote Armee Fraktion, RAF). On their 
agenda: armed attacks, assassinations, and other 
acts of terrorism designed to overthrow regimes 
perceived to be ‘oppressive’. The bloodshed of 
numerous attacks, committed both by the extreme 
left and the extreme right, has stained this period in history.

German industrialist Hanns-Martin Schleyer's body 
was dumped by the RAF in the trunk of a car in 
France in 1977. The following year, BR left the 
corpse of Aldo Moro, Italian post-war Prime 
Minister and Christian Democrat party leader, in 
a Rome street, by government headquarters. Over 
in France, businessman Georges Besse, then chief 
of Renault, was murdered by the anarchist Maoist 
organization Action Directe in 1986. Today’s 
European governments are facing a revival in 
discussion of the movement, what with the 
respective release and capture of German and 
Italian former terrorists Brigitte Mohnhaupt and Cesare Battisti.

Thirty years of the ‘German Autumn’

On March 25, 57 year-old Brigitte Mohnhaupt, 57, 
an important figure of Germany’s anticapitalist 
RAF (aka Baader-Meinhof) gang, was freed from 
Aichach prison in Bavaria. Her probation has 
reawakened memories of the ‘German Autumn’ of 
1977. A succession of murders rocked the country, 
alongside a Lufthansa flight hijack and the 
suicide of the group’s leader, Andreas Baader.

Arrested in 1982, Mohnhaupt was sentenced to five 
life sentences in 1985. But having served a 24 
year mandatory sentence for her involvement in 
nine murders and several attempted 
assassinations, today Mohnhaupt poses – according 
to the judges - ‘no security risk’. She has 
walked free, whilst never having publicly 
expressed remorse for her actions. Her release 
has provoked controversy in Germany. Running 
parallel to this case is that of prisoner 
Christian Klar, 54. The former RAF member's 
appeal for a pardon is currently going around the German courts.

Italian saga

In Italy, meanwhile, the terrorism of the 1970s 
is still very fresh in the mind, especially as 
French and Italian police caught Cesare Battisti 
being caught in Brasilian exile on March 18. A 
writer and activist, this 52-year-old former 
member of the 'Armed Proletarians for Communism' 
(Proletari Armati per il Comunismo, PAC), was 
sentenced to life imprisonment in Italy in 1995. 
He was given asylum in France, benefiting from 
the ‘Mitterand doctrine’ in place at this time. 
In 1985, President François Mitterand had pledged 
not to extradite former Italian extreme left-wing 
militants who had renounced their past, giving 
them the opportunity of a fresh start on French soil.

In February 2004, however, the French courts 
agreed, in an apparent volte-face, to honour the 
Italian authorities’ demand for Battisti’s 
extradition. It led to intense debate within 
left-wing intellectual and political circles in 
the two states. Several months later, Battisti 
decided to go underground again, living as a 
fugitive. His arrest three years on in Rio de 
Janeiro, right in the middle of the 2007 French 
presidential election campaigns, seems to herald 
a new era of zero tolerance towards extreme left-wing terrorism.

French inflexibility

More recently, Jean-Marc Rouillan, the former 
head of the Action Directe urban guerilla group, 
who has been in prison for the last 20 years, has 
written in the French daily Le Monde. He spoke of 
his desire to continue the fight against 
capitalism without batting an eyelid – and 
without launching the slightest media outcry. 
Certainly, France was less affected than her 
German and Italian neighbors by what were later 
termed the ‘Years of Lead’. But while this period 
of terror goes by unmentioned, the silence should 
not be equated with leniency: 53-year-old 
Rouillan’s appeals to be released have so far 
been continually rejected by the French courts. 
As have those of his ex-acolytes, Régis 
Schleicher and Nathalie Ménignon. In 2004, Joëlle 
Aubron, the fourth member of Action Directe to be 
imprisoned, was released on health grounds; she died two years later.

The incompetence of the authorities working on 
both sides of the Alpine border during the ‘Years 
of Lead’, as well as the adoption of special laws 
infringing upon civil liberties, have prevented a 
rational coming-to-terms with this era. The 
consequences remain tangible today.

Photos - (Aldo Moro: Wikipedia), (Christian Klar: Herrner/ Flickr)

Thomas Hochmann - Berlin - 26.3.2007 | Translation : Lindsey Evans


PROFILE: Brigitte Mohnhaupt: led West German terrorist onslaught

Sunday 25 March 2007 10:07

Brigitte Mohnhaupt, the 57-year-old German woman 
who has been released from jail Sunday, was a 
main leader of the bloodiest wave of leftwing 
terrorist attacks against the West German establishment.

That nightmare, climaxing in the so-called German 
autumn of 1977, began with the April 7, 1977 
assassination of Germany's federal 
prosecutor-general, Siegfried Buback, who was 
leading the fight to uncover and destroy the Red 
Army Faction (RAF) terrorist group.

Mohnhaupt can thank her onetime enemy for her 
release, almost exactly 30 years later, after 
serving 24 years of a life sentence for murder. 
The federal prosecutions office recommended she be paroled.

Germans are hoping that history will not repeat 
itself. The last time Mohnhaupt was freed from 
jail, in early February 1977, she rapidly 
reorganized the tattered RAF, restoring covert 
communications between the group's jailed 
founders and underground members outside.

In her own words, she found "a little club 
infested with police informers and incapable of 
mounting operations," purged it and within two 
months was ready for assassinations, bombings and bank robberies.

Mohnhaupt, a middle-class former student whose 
father was a businessman and who had meant to 
become a journalist, was chief planner in the 
April killing of Buback by an RAF team.

Though not all has been revealed, historians 
believe she was the strategist of the RAF until 
she was captured on November 11, 1982.

She certainly had considerable authority among 
the terrorists, as she had gone underground at 
the start of 1971, making her part of the 
original "struggle," and she had been coached by 
the founders of the RAF in Stammheim Prison near Stuttgart.

Incredibly, the RAF prisoners were allowed four 
hours a day with one another and Andreas Baader, 
Gudrun Ensslin and other founders of the 
Baader-Meinhof Gang groomed her as their second-generation successor.

Mohnhaupt was more than just the brains of the 
underground group: she was also a cold-blooded 
killer. In July 1977, when the group tried to 
abduct the chief executive of Dresdner Bank, 
Juergen Ponto, he fought back and she immediately shot and killed him.

In September 1977, the RAF escalated its war 
against the West German authorities, kidnapping 
national employers' leader Hanns- Martin 
Schleyer, who was murdered weeks later. Some 20 
RAF members took part in the abduction and Mohnhaupt was the ringleader.

She also arranged with a Palestinian terrorist 
group to jointly hijack a Lufthansa passenger jet 
to Mogadishu, Somalia. The plot, aimed at forcing 
the release of Baader, Ensslin and others, failed 
when crack German police stormed the plane.

By the end of 1977, the RAF had murdered nine 
people, and might well have killed five more if a 
fresh attack on federal prosecutors had not failed.

German authorities are confident that Mohnhaupt 
will not resume violence, if only because the RAF no longer exists.

Even if she has not admitted that terrorism in 
itself was wrong, the judges who granted her 
parole say she seems to have seriously questioned the evil it brought about.

The written judicial decision describes her 
reasoning for not apologizing to relatives of her 
victims. She told the judges that someone could 
excuse themself for many missteps in daily life, 
but not for the loss of a human being.

The Freedom Archives
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(415) 863-9977
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