One of Europe’s most wanted arrested in Germany after decades on the run

Daniela Klette is one of three former Red Army Faction members whom police have been seeking for years

Rich Booth
Additional reporting by AP
Tuesday 27 February 2024 13:46 GMT
A policeman reading a wanted poster for the Baader-Meinhof Gang
A policeman reading a wanted poster for the Baader-Meinhof Gang (Getty)

A former member of the disbanded left-wing militant Red Army Faction group has been arrested after more than 30 years on the run, German authorities said Tuesday.

Prosecutors in the northern town of Verden confirmed the arrest of Daniela Klette, 65, but wouldn't immediately give further details. The Bild daily, which cited unidentified security sources, reported that she was arrested in Berlin on Monday evening.

Klette is one of three former Red Army Faction members whom police have been seeking for years. Klette, Ernst-Volker Staub and Burkhard Garweg have been linked to at least 12 robberies in northern Germany between 1999 and 2016. They were also sought for attempted murder.

Authorities suspect the motive for the robberies was to get hold of money rather than anything political.

A policeman reading a wanted poster for the Baader-Meinhof Gang (Getty)

In mid-February, investigators made a new appeal for information on the trio on a popular television crime program. They were put on Europol's “Europe's Most Wanted" list in 2020.

The Red Army Faction emerged from German student protests against the Vietnam War. The group launched a violent campaign against what members considered US imperialism and capitalist oppression of workers.

Founded by Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof, among others, the far-left RAF’s first generation committed at least 33 murders of public officials, police, business leaders and U.S. soldiers during its 1970s heyday and took many more hostages.

A 1988 portrait of RAF (Red Army Faction) member Daniela Klette, handed out by German police in 1993 (1988 AP)

But the charges facing Klette, along with Garweg and Staub, relate to millions of euros’ worth of armed robberies and at least one attempted murder committed between 1999 and 2016.

The group wound itself up in 1998, sending an anonymous letter to Reuters’ office in Cologne in which the remaining members declared that “city guerilla in the form of the RAF is now history.”

In 2007 Brigitte Mohnhaupt, a former Red Army Faction terrorist described as the “most evil and dangerous woman in Germany”, was cleared to be released from jail after serving her minimum sentence of five life terms for nine murders by the left-wing urban guerrilla group in the 1970s and 1980s.

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