• Short Summary

    Three leading members
    of the West German urban guerrilla band known as the Baader-Meinhof group
    committed suicide in their prison cells on Tuesday (18 October), according to
    officials of the Department of Justice.

  • Description

    Three leading members
    of the West German urban guerrilla band known as the Baader-Meinhof group
    committed suicide in their prison cells on Tuesday (18 October), according to
    officials of the Department of Justice. Their deaths were announced a few hours
    after the recapture of the hijacked West German airliner at Mogadishu in
    Somalia, and the release of the hostages who were seized in a bid to get the
    prisoners freed.

    SYNOPSIS: Andreas Baader, a lawyer, given a life sentence last April after
    conviction for murder, bomb attacks and bank raids; and his mistress, Gudrun
    Ensslin. These two, together with Ulrike Meinhof and their close associate
    Jan-Carl Raspe, were regarded as the hard core of the urban guerrilla group.

    They are all dead. Another member, Irmgard Moeller, is said to have attempted
    suicide, but survived.

    The convicted group members were held in strict isolation in Stammheim prison in
    Stuttgart. It is a mystery how they knew of the failure of the hijack; and how
    the two men, Baader and Raspe, got the guns with which they shot themselves.

    Another lawyer, Horst Mahler is serving a 12-year sentence on various charges,
    including complicity in an earlier rescue of Andreas Baader from custody.

    The three who died in prison were all arrested in June 1972, after a series of
    explosions in German towns. Despite their violent record, the accused attracted
    a certain amount of political sympathy. The authorities were criticised for
    holding them in prison for nearly three years before bringing them to trial.

    In 1974, French writer Jean Paul Sartre visited Baader in prison. He was
    vigorously attacked for doing so - and the same time himself attacked the prison
    conditions for the guerrillas.

    Ulrike Meinhof, the co-founder of the group, was found hanged in her cell in May
    of last year; as Gudrun Ensslin was this Tuesday morning. Frau Meinhof had been
    on trial, along with the three who have now died, and the trial had already
    lasted a year. The authorities attributed her death to depression and
    disagreements with her fellow-prisoners. But political sympathisers alleged that
    she had either been murdered or driven to suicide by her captors. Her funeral in
    West Berlin was turned into a political demonstration, with supporters using
    handkerchiefs to hide their faces from the police.

    Just before the trial, group members occupied the West German Embassy in
    Stockholm in an attempt to get the prisoners freed. They shot two attaches and
    accidentally set the building on fire. One guerrilla died and five more were
    captured.

    Last April, the Chief Public Prosecutor of West Germany, Herr Siegfried Buback,
    was shot dead in his car travelling to his office. In July, a prominent banker,
    Herr Juergen Ponto, was shot at his home. Then last month Dr. Hanns Martin
    Schleyer, the employer's president, was kidnapped, and his fate in still not
    known. From the statements and demands made by those claiming responsibility for
    all three attacks, they appear to have been linked with the Baader-Meinhof
    group.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA2MOGCKGN2C42TCEGTNEW3B8U6
    Media URN:
    VLVA2MOGCKGN2C42TCEGTNEW3B8U6
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    18/10/1977
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:03:04:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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