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Ex-E. German Official Heads to Jail

January 18, 2000

BERLIN (AP) _ A former top-ranking East German communist reported to jail Tuesday to begin serving a three-year manslaughter sentence for the shooting deaths of East Germans trying to flee to the West.

Guenther Kleiber, 69, joined Egon Krenz, the country’s last communist leader, and fellow former Politburo member Guenter Schabowski in the minimum-security jail in western Berlin.

An appeals court upheld their manslaughter convictions in November, saying the former officials were politically responsible for East Germany’s shoot-to-kill policy at the Berlin Wall and other crossings to the West.

Berlin judicial authorities had granted Kleiber a delay in starting his sentence because his wife is ailing.

Krenz went to jail last week only after Germany’s highest court refused his appeal. The other two did not appeal.

Kleiber was one of the Politburo’s economics experts.

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