German in U.S. Soldier Murder Paroled
Friday, August 17, 2007; 7:50 PM
BERLIN -- A former radical leftist convicted in the murder of a U.S. soldier and bombing of an American military base poses no more danger to the public and will be released on parole, a German court ruled Friday.
Eva Haule, a one-time member of the Red Army Faction, will be released Tuesday after serving 21 years of a life sentence for the 1985 attacks, the Frankfurt state court said. She will be the second convicted member of the group to win parole this year.
Haule, 53, a member of the Red Army Faction from February 1984 until her arrest in August 1986, was convicted in 1988 of membership of a terrorist organization and weapons possession in connection with a failed 1984 attack on a NATO training school in Bavaria.
In 1994, a Frankfurt court convicted her in the killing of 20-year-old Spc. Edward Pimental, who was shot after he left a discotheque on Aug. 7, 1985, in the western German city of Wiesbaden with a woman. His body was found in nearby woods.
Authorities said the terrorists used Pimental's ID card to enter the Rhein-Main air base in Frankfurt. The following day, explosives packed in a Volkswagen rocked the parking lot behind the base headquarters. Two Americans were killed and 23 wounded.
Haule was convicted and sentenced to life on three counts of murder and a charge of bringing about an explosion.
Although it could not be determined that Haule actually fired the weapon that killed Pimental, the Frankfurt court ruled she was closely involved in planning and carrying out the murder and the bombing.
At the time of her arrest, Haule was considered part of the Red Army Faction's hard core, but the Frankfurt court said she has renounced violence and it "reached the conclusion that (Haule) now no longer poses any danger to the public."
Federal prosecutors called for her release on parole and prison authorities endorsed the plan, the court said. Judges held two hearings with Haule before the court made its decision. They also considered psychologists' reports.
The court said its decision 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 form of armed fighting as an appropriate method to achieve political aims."
Pimental's younger sister said he is still mourned by their family.
"We miss him," Kathleen Pequeno of Portland, Ore., said on the family's behalf. "We are still grieving his loss, and within our family there are different opinions about Eva Haule's release." She declined to elaborate on those opinions.
A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Berlin could not be immediately be reached for comment.
Haule's lawyers declined to comment on the court decision, as did the German Justice Ministry.
In Germany, many people serve less than 20 years for life sentences. In Haule's case, the Frankfurt court had set 21 years as the minimum she could serve before being eligible for parole.
The court said that over the past three years, Haule _ who is serving her sentence at a Berlin prison _ has trained as a photographer, a course she completed early this year.
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.
In March, Brigitte Mohnhaupt was released after a quarter-century in prison for her involvement in some of the group's most notorious murders in the late 1970s. Haule, like Mohnhaupt, will be on parole for five years, during which her prison sentence will be reinstated if she commits another crime.
German President Horst Koehler rejected pleas for clemency this year from two other former Rred Army Faction members who cannot yet seek parole.
One, Birgit Hogefeld, was convicted in the Pimental killing and the Rhein-Main bombing. When she was convicted in 1996, the presiding judge said testimony showed she lured Pimental out of the disco.
Also turned down was Christian Klar, convicted in the 1977 murders of chief West German federal prosecutor Siegfried Buback, industrial association head Hanns-Martin Schleyer and Dresdner Bank chief Juergen Ponto.
Associated Press writer Adam Goldman in New York contributed to this report.