Montag, Februar 12, 2007


Brigitte Mohnhaupt is going to walk out of jail in March.

She's a former member of the Red Army Fraction, the home-grown terrorists that murdered, robbed and lied their way into the hearts of the German left in the 1970s and 1980s.

She's going to be released because a court of law (Oberlandesgericht Stuttgart) has decided that she no longer represents a danger to society.

A danger to society.

She has abandoned her ways. She spent 24 years in jail for her part in the kidnapping and murder of the president of the German Employer's Association, Hans-Martin Schleyer. She was also involved in the murder of Siegfried Buback, one of the head German state prosecutors. In July of 1977 she fired the shots that murdered the head of the Dresden Bank. She tried to use a rocket attack on the office building of the German state prosecutors, and she tried to kill a US general in 1981 using an anti-tank weapon on his car.

She was arrested when she was getting weapons from a hidden depot.

The same court sentenced her to 5 times life and 15 years to boot. On the 27th of March she will have served the minimum time that such a sentence carries.

According to the court, there is no sign that she might start up her terrorist activities once again.

However, and this is what makes the decision of the court irresponsible, she shows no regret in having kidnapped, killed and maimed her victims.

None. Not one word.

Failing to take that into account is highly irresponsible of the court: the victims are the ones who here apparently have no voice in the matter. By failing to take into account this critical matter, the court ignores the fact that they are now giving freedom to someone who denied that to her victims; that they are now giving freedom to someone who took lives without regret and remorse; that they are now giving freedom to someone who does not deserve it.

And she does not deserve it: merely sitting out the sentence isn't enough. Regret and apologies to the victims are absolutely necessary for any sort of recognition that she deserves to be let out early.

This is irresponsible: condemning someone to 5 life sentences plus 15 years and then letting her out because she "no longer presents a danger to society". This is a perversion of justice: justice is not merely preventing dangers to society, but more fundamentally such prison sentences must act as a deterrent.

But in Germany life in jail means 15 years.


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