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East Germany Hands Reputed Terrorists to West Germany

July 12, 1990

WEST BERLIN (AP) _ Two reputed Red Army Faction terrorists were handed over to West German authorities Thursday, prosecutors said, after years of sanctuary that may have been provided by East Germany’s now-disbanded secret police.

Inge Viett and Werner Lotze arrived in the West German city of Karlsruhe, where they will appear before an investigating magistrate, according to Rolf Hannich, a spokesman for the West German prosecutor’s office.

They were among nine alleged Red Army Faction members arrested in East Germany in a series of raids last month. One alleged terrorist was released because the arrest warrant against her had expired.

The arrests caused an uproar in both Germanys after one of those seized said she had been given sanctuary and a new identity by the old East German secret police force, known as the Stasi.

News reports in West Germany have also alleged that deposed Communist Party chief Erich Honecker and Stasi boss Erich Mielke were personally responsible for hiding the purported terrorists.

In East Berlin, prosecution spokesman Dieter Plath said Ms. Viett had been extradited ″against her will″ and in defiance of an article in the East German Constitution that bans the extradition of criminal suspects to a ″foreign power.″

Plath said prosecutors had acted on the ″assumption″ that the article no longer applied to West Germany after the two Germanys unified in effect with the July 1 merger of their economies and social welfare systems.

An East Berlin court confirmed that reading of the law, Plath added.

Ms. Viett is suspected of the attempted murder of a Paris policeman who stopped her during a routine check in 1981.

Lotze has said he wanted to cooperate with West German prosecutors in order to possibly qualify for a program that offers lenient punishment for former terrorists willing to testify against their organization.

Lotze, who has said he made a ″deliberate decision″ to quit the Red Army Faction and move to East Germany in 1979, is suspected of involvement in the 1977 kidnapping and shooting death of Hans-Martin Schleyer, chairman of West Germany’s biggest employers’ group.

West Germany has warrants out for the arrest of both suspects for their alleged Red Army Faction membership.

They are the second and third terrorist suspects to arrive in West Germany. On July 5, Susanne Albrecht, another Red Army Faction suspect, was handed to West German authorities after saying she wanted to testify for the prosecution.

Plath would not confirm recent reports that another of the suspects, Silke Maier-Witt, had also asked to be sent to West Germany.

West German authorities have said they weren’t planning to seek formal extradition in any of the cases because West German law will come into force in East Germany after the two nations formally unite, most likely in December.

The Red Army Faction waged a terrorist campaign against West German capitalism and NATO in the 1970s and 1980s.

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