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Monday, 22 January, 2001, 11:42 GMT
Fischer 'gave militant refuge'
Joschka Fischer in court
Joschka Fischer: allegations keep coming
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer gave refuge to a member of the Red Army Faction (RAF) in his home in Frankfurt in the 1970s, according to the magazine Focus.

The report comes after weeks of intense pressure on the foreign minister, who has faced calls for his resignation over his role in radical left-wing politics.

The RAF militant, Magrit Schiller, said she spent several days at Mr Fischer's flat in 1973.

Magrit Schiller
Magrit Schiller: jailed for an attack on a policeman
"We breakfasted together and in the evening we went on a pub crawl," she wrote in her 1999 biography, a statement which Focus magazine says it has verified.

Mr Fischer's background in militant left-wing politics gained renewed attention last week, when he testified at the trial of Hans-Joachim Klein, accused of murder in the 1973 kidnapping of Opec ministers in Vienna.

When asked at the trial whether he gave refuge to Ms Schiller, Mr Fischer replied: "I did not act as a hostel warden for terrorists."

Bombing campaign

Although Mr Fischer was appearing as a character witness to Mr Klein, public and media attention focused on Mr Fischer's own attitude to violent activism.

Photographs showing Mr Fischer attacking a police officer at a demonstration were published in Stern magazine earlier this month.

Ms Schiller was a prominent member of the militant RAF, which led a bombing campaign against the West German state and large corporations during the 1970s.

She was a close acquaintance of Ulrike Meinhof and Andreas Baader and was jailed for an attack on a policeman in 1971.

Cabinet under fire

Chancellor Schroeder's cabinet is under increasing strain due to the debate over Mr Fischer's past and doubts raised about other ministers.

In the most recent revelations, Environment Minister Juergen Tritten was attacked on a talk show for his apparent refusal to condemn the RAF assassination of federal prosecutor General Siegfried Buback in 1977.

Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping is also under fire for his handling of the depleted uranium issue, while Finance Minister Hans Eichel has been criticised for his alleged excessive use of internal air force flights.

And the health and agriculture ministers resigned in early January in the wake of Germany's BSE crisis.

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See also:

09 Jan 01 | Europe
Schroeder backs foreign minister
17 Oct 00 | Europe
Jackal ally tried for Opec kidnap
15 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Germany
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