Police still baffled by Green 'suicides'

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BONN - Police admitted they were still in the dark yesterday in their investigation into the killing of Germany's best-known Green campaigner, Petra Kelly, and her companion, Gert Bastian, writes John Eisenhammer.

While media speculation flourished about the involvement of the Stasi, the East German secret police, or a crime of passion by Bastian, 69, against his 44-year- old lover, Bonn police said that no new leads had emerged.

A thorough search of the couple's house had not unearthed any letter accounting for suicide, nor a diary which might offer some clue. Those friends that had seen them last, at the end of September, said they appeared to be perfectly happy. Bastian, a former general in the German army who later became a leading peace campaigner for the Greens, shot Kelly in the head before turning the gun on himself. Police are not clear whether there was a suicide pact between the two.

The east German civil rights group, New Forum, yesterday criticised the Bonn police for the rapidity with which they had ruled out the possibility of a third party being involved. They asked the state prosecutor to reopen the murder investigation. Another eastern German group, Bundnis 90, said in its tribute to the couple yesterday that 'many who had known them simply could not believe that suicide was possible'.

Germany's most popular newspaper, Bild, suggested that Kelly wanted to leave Bastian, with whom she had lived since 1984, for a Tibetan doctor. Kelly was a campaigner for human rights in Tibet.