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German militant convicted of GI’s murder freed

A German court said Friday it ordered the early release on parole of a former Red Army Faction member who was convicted in the 1985 murder of a U.S. soldier.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A German court said Friday it ordered the early release on parole of a former Red Army Faction member who was convicted in the 1985 murder of a U.S. soldier.

Eva Haule can be early next week after serving 21 years of her life sentence, the Frankfurt state court said in a statement.

Haule was convicted by a Stuttgart court in 1988 of membership in a terrorist organization and weapons possession.

In 1994, a Frankfurt court found her guilty of participating in the murder of Edward Pimental, a 20-year-old Army soldier, in the western German city of Wiesbaden, as well as in the bombing of the U.S. Rhein-Main air base.

Early releases
Haule will become the second former member of the left-wing group that terrorized West Germany to win parole this year. In March, Brigitte Mohnhaupt was released after a quarter-century in prison for her involvement in some of the group’s most notorious murders.

On Aug. 8, 1985, explosives packed in a Volkswagen rocked the parking lot behind the Rhein-Main Air Base headquarters in Frankfurt, killing Airman 1st Class Frank H. Scarton, 19, of Woodhaven, Mich., and Becky Joe Bristol, a civilian U.S. Air Force employee from San Antonio, Texas.

The blast also injured 23 people. The night before, Spec. Pimental, of New York City, was killed after leaving a Wiesbaden discotheque with a woman.

Authorities said the terrorists used Pimental’s ID card to enter the air base.

Haule’s release comes as Germany prepares to mark the 30th anniversary of the “German Autumn” of 1977, in which the Red Army Faction left a trail of dead as it fought to bring down a state it viewed as a capitalist oppressor. The terrorist group killed 34 people before declaring itself disbanded in 1998.

Over the past three years, Haule — who is serving her sentence at a Berlin prison — has trained as a photographer, a course which she completed early this year, the Frankfurt court said in a statement.

Federal prosecutors called for her release on parole and prison authorities endorsed that plan, it added.

Before the court made its decision on Thursday, judges held two hearings with Haule. They also considered psychologists’ reports.

The court said it “has reached the conclusion that (Haule) now no longer poses any danger to the public.”

34 killed during 22-year campaign
The Red Army Faction emerged from German student protests against the Vietnam War, launching a violent, 22-year campaign against what members considered U.S. imperialism and capitalist oppression of workers.

The organization killed 34 people and injured hundreds, some simply unlucky enough to be driving or accompanying their prominent targets. It declared itself disbanded in 1998.

The court said its decision to parole Haule was influenced by the fact that “she actively participated in the self-dissolution of the RAF in 1998 and convincingly made clear that she no longer views violence in the formed of armed fighting as an appropriate method to achieve political aims.”

In Germany, many people serve less than 20 years of life sentences. In Haule’s case, the Frankfurt court had set 21 years as the minimum time she could serve before being eligible for parole.