German Court to Free Woman That Killed US Soldier

jetsetter

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German Court to Free Woman That Killed US Soldier
11 June 2011
Associated Press

BERLIN -- A German court decided Friday to release a former Red Army Faction terrorist that was involved in a murder of a U.S. Soldier in 1985 and a deadly bombing at a U.S. military base.

Birgit Hogefeld's parole request was granted after serving 18 years in prison because of her "positive development," Frankfurt state court said, noting she finished a college degree through distance learning and started to work on a Ph.D.

She was serving a life sentence for her role in the attacks. A 2008 court ruling had found that Hogefeld could only be considered for parole upon completing 18 years of her life sentence in prison given the "severity of the crimes" she committed.

Hogefeld was a member of the leftist Red Army Faction terrorist group, which emerged from German student protests against the Vietnam War.

The terror group waged a violent, 22-year campaign against what members considered U.S. imperialism and capitalist oppression of workers. It killed 34 people and wounded hundreds of others before declaring itself disbanded in 1998.

In 2007 and 2010, then President Horst Koehler rejected requests for clemency from Hogefeld.

At her 1996 trial, the court found Hogefeld guilty of luring U.S. Army Spc. Edward Pimental of New York City out of a disco near Mainz in 1985 to obtain his military ID. He was later found shot in the head in nearby woods.

The ID card was then used to get a Volkswagen sedan packed with about 530 pounds (240 kilograms) of explosives onto the U.S. Air Force Rhine-Main Air Base as people were arriving for work the next morning.

Airman 1st Class Frank H. Scarton, 19, of Woodhaven, Michigan, and Becky Joe Bristol, a civilian Air Force employee from San Antonio, were killed by the blast and more than 20 others were wounded.

Hogefeld was arrested in 1993 and was later convicted of murder in the deaths of Pimental, Scarton and Bristol.

It wasn't immediately clear when she would be released.

http://www.military.com/news/article/german-court-to-free-woman-that-killed-us-soldier.html

Disgraceful. Her release after only serving 18 years is a black stain on the German justice system and Germany as a whole. A punishment of "life" should mean that she would have died in prison of old age or what have you (execution would have been ideal but I could only hope for so much).

I am all for a commando raid, a la Osama, and taking her out.
 

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Wikipedia said:
Several terrorist activities that Hogefeld was later found guilty of by a Higher Court in Germany were;
The murder of a young GI, Edward Pimental, in 1985 to obtain his I.D. to access the grounds of the U.S. Rhein-Main Air Base near Frankfurt. Supposedly Hogefeld lured him to her home after meeting him in a bar, where he was then shot through the neck and killed.[2] Eva Haule was also involved with Pimental's murder.
A bomb attack on the aforementioned U.S. airbase, which killed A1C Frank Scarton and Becky Jo Bristol and left twenty others injured.
A failed assassination attempt on Hans Tietmeyer, former President of the Deutsche Bundesbank.
The destruction of a jail.[3]
Involvement in a terrorist organisation.
In November 1996 she was given three life imprisonment sentences and is currently incarcerated in a Frankfurt detention centre. The sentence will not automatically be reviewed after 15 years.[4]
In 2008 federal president K?hler denied her clemency request.[5]
Hogefield is eligible for parole in June 2011.[6]
Three life sentences, and she's let out after 18 years. She got about 9 1/2 months in jail for each person she killed or injured at Rhein-Main.
 

jetsetter

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M3lover

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A "life" sentance here in Denmark usually means 16 years in prison with release after 12 years with good behavior...

The hardest judgement you can get is custody until you are believed to no more be a tread to society, which falls to child murderes etc.
 

Interrobang

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The release is entirely regular, her punishment continues as she?s on probation for the next 7 years. A life-sentence does not mean "for life" here. The maximum is 25 years (with in some few cases preventive custody, if the convict is still "dangerous" after having done his time - wich the courts don?t asume in the case at hand btw). This is is not exceptional for the woman at hand (or even because she killed an american, like some people seem to think), this is entirely regulary if the prosioner isn?t dangerous and if his prognosis towards reintegration into society is positive.
The Case of former RAF Terroists in germany is also heavily debated here whether it?s safe to let them out, and even I am not sure if this is the right decision.

a black stain on the German justice system and Germany as a whole.[...]
Our Justic-system is different. True. "Revenge" doesn?t have a place in it. I know this concept is foreign to a lot of people around the world (especially those who think killing criminals is a good thing), but it is a good System (of course not perfect, I?m not saying that). We don?t hold people in prison longer as it is nessecary (wich is in many cases debateable like here, I will agree - but I stand by the general system as it is). Then it?s all down to reintegrating a former criminal into society, a concept also very strange to many people (even in this country). This all also aplies to former terrorists ... and Murderers of Us-citicens. Consider it a black stain for our justice system if you want ... just know that I (and a lot of my fellow Germans and Europeans) look upon the System of capitol punishment in a lot of US-States with disgust. I?d rather have some people potentially walk the streets too early again than have the american way of justice.
 
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GerFix

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Just one question. What did U.S. Army Spc. Edward Pimental hope to get from Ms. Hogefeld on leaving the disco?
 

GerFix

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^ Yes. The US government sent this guy (and his libido) deliberately into a region inhabited by hot socialist reactionary German chicks. If one is to get upset at the cominuting of her sentence, one should express equal outrage at the Government that set up his death in the first place.

I don't necessarily endorse my comments. I'm just sick of bullshit peddlers, who think there is only one path to righteousness. There is almost always another side to every story.
 

MacGuffin

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I guess our foaming American friends must learn to accept, that the concept of punishment for a crime doesn't necessarily have to be based on revenge but also on rehabilitation and allowing a second chance, if the convict shows true remorse and has changed his/her lifestyle during the time in prison.

The woman they are going to set free now, is simply not the person anymore, who committed those crimes. We consider that kind of rehabilitation a civilized way of running a legal system. It accounts for the fact, that people can change (and it prevents us from overcrowded prisons). Of course the relatives and friends of the victim will probably see it differently, because they're out for revenge and not penance.

Everyone in this world must accept, though, that there are certain risks in life. Those risks include being killed when falling from a ladder, develop a deadly disease, eat something with aggressive germs, become the victim of a violent crime or lose a loved one due to any of those possibilities.

I understand the desire to lock up criminals forever (or even to kill them). But once you decided that death penalty is not an option for a civilized country (which we have), locking up a person forever only makes sense, when that person still poses a danger to others after many years in prison.

But if the person changed, shows true remorse, dissociated herself from her former radical views and used her time in prison in a productive way, for example making a Ph.D. and can still lead a normal life afterwards, why not?

I always found it strange, when people hold the Christian values so high (and benefit from them every day!!) but when it counts, lack the most basic principle of Christianity: Forgiveness.

However, if you still think, taking into account that a person might change, is too soft or against the spirit of punishment, let me explain the problem by an extreme example:

A mass murderer is being sentenced to life and after only serving a small amount of time he slips in the shower, hits his head hard and loses all his memory. Permanent loss of everything he knew and used to be. Can happen.

Over the next 10-15 years he re-learns walking, speaking, reading, writing, maybe even gets some qualifications. Maybe he ends up all religious and wants to serve the public or join the Benedictine Order? It wouldn't make any sense to still keep him locked up for a crime he has no memory of and therefore can never feel remorse for, would it?

He's not the same person anymore, who committed the crimes he got sentenced for. Only his physical appearance remains. Try explaining to him, why he is in prison. Might be an interesting talk.

Now the relatives of his victims might still feel different and say that is irrelevant but that's the reason we don't have vigilantism anymore but an impartial judiciary: To judge soberly and unbiased over a convict.

And if that still doesn't convince you, well, then simply eat this: We have a different legal system and you're going to have to live with that! End of discussion.(*)

(*) That's the same argumentation we recieved from Americans, when we criticized, how Dominique Strauss-Kahn was treated as a suspect by the New York police.
 
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GRtak

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Not all Americans feel that way. Some of us understand the difference between rehab and punishment, and that the best way is to really incorporate the two for the benefit of society.
 

MacGuffin

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I have never doubted that :) My contribution to the discussion is specifically directed to those who can't or won't ;)

In contrast to what many might think, I am very able to differentiate.
 
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nomix

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Well, Germany is a civilized nation, this is what you have to expect from civilized nations once in a while.

If I remember correctly, the peace process in Northern Ireland entailed the pardons of several IRA operatives in British jails, I'm sure you felt the same urge of anger on behalf of the dead soldiers of your most trusted ally in Europe.
 

Cobol74

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Sorry terrorists who murder deserve 25 - 35 years plus IMHO. Additional time for multiple murders. In democracies there are ways of changing Public Policy by argument rather than by stupid acts of murder mostly of the defenceless.

For instance. ...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/1775091.stm

"The blast - later admitted by the dissident republican Real IRA - killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, and injured hundreds."

"In a lengthy judgement, Mr Justice Barr said: "The accused is a republican terrorist of long standing, having been convicted of a series of offences of this nature in both this state and the United States and having served jail sentences."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/151985.stm

"The blast left about 220 people injured or maimed. Both Protestants and Catholics were hurt and killed.
Martin McGuinness, the chief negotiator for Sinn Fein, said: "This appalling act was carried out by those opposed to the peace process."

"It is designed to wreck the process and everyone should work to ensure the peace process continues." A BBC correspondent said the statement was the strongest condemnation of an act of paramilitary violence by the party which represented the IRA in the Stormont talks."
 
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DanRoM

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Sorry terrorists who murder deserve 25 - 35 years plus IMHO.
Well, that's your opinion. In Germany the longest sentence to be had is 25 years - and Hogefeld did get that sentence. She is now on probation - because apparently she was a good prisoner.

The German political world and the German justice system made a very big point of treating the RAF people like normal criminals at the time, because treating them like terrorists would give credit to their political motives*. So Hogefeld gets the same chance as any other convicted murderer in this country. And frankly, I agree that the former RAF members don't pose a threat anymore. Their time is over and they know that.
If some of you don't agree, fine. The fact that our justice system is not based on the revenge principle is one of the few things I'm actually proud of as a German.


* Yes, I know that Stammheim negated that strategy completely... but nevertheless that was the strategy.
 

calvinhobbes

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Not only terrorists but multiple murders of all sorts -> 25 - 35 years depending upon their culpability and any form of mitigation.
Good, that's quite like the sentences we have. Our life sentence is 25 years and convicts may be paroled if they change for the better. Those who are particularly dangerous, due to e.g. their personalities, may be sentenced to preventive custody which means they won't go free even after the 25 years in prison.

The convict in question has distanced herself from the terrorist organisation she was once a part of, the organisation doesn't exist any longer, the country has long since moved on and Hogefeld has worked outside prison walls since 2009, adhering to a strict set of rules and displaying the discipline necessary to remain in "open enforcement" ("offener Vollzug" is the German term). If the authorities deem her no threat, there's simply no reason for her to serve the remainder of her sentence behind bars.
 

nomix

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Will depend from state to state, won't it?

Edit: Or are you talking about the average length of imprisonment in the disgraceful US prison system anyone can physically stand without virtually dying?
 

Jay

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I guess our foaming American friends must learn to accept, that the concept of punishment for a crime doesn't necessarily have to be based on revenge but also on rehabilitation and allowing a second chance, if the convict shows true remorse and has changed his/her lifestyle during the time in prison.
Rarely, you and I are in agreement but here is the exception. Only the 1% of scum that makes up society will be the hopeless cases for rehabilitation. My wife's uncle is such an example of redemption: he was a member of the FALN, released in 1999 when Bill Clinton gave pardons on his last day.
 
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