Page last updated at 12:07 GMT, Monday, 24 November 2008

Red Army Faction boss to be freed

Christian Klar. Photo: March 1983
Klar was convicted of nine murders and 11 attempted murders

A German court has approved the release from jail of a leader of a radical leftist group involved in high-profile killings in the 1970s and 1980s.

Red Army Faction leader Christian Klar, aged 56, is serving five life terms but will have served the minimum required 26 years by January.

The court in Stuttgart said there were no grounds to keep him in custody.

The group, also known as the Baader-Meinhof gang, targeted bankers, businessmen, judges and US servicemen.

More than 30 people were killed by the gang, before it disbanded 10 years ago.

Gang's brutality

"A major consideration was the question of whether it could be feared that Christian Klar would commit significant criminal acts again," but the judges decided there was no evidence he would, the court said in a statement.

The Baader Meinhof Complex poster
Uli Edel's film was released in Britain earlier this month

It said that Klar would remain on probation for five years after his release.

Klar was arrested in 1982 and later convicted of nine murders and 11 attempted murders.

It is the brutality of the Red Army Faction's crimes which shocked the public, the BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Berlin says.

Along with the principal targets of their terror, bodyguards and drivers were gunned down.

In one case, the head of a bank was assassinated at his home, after being presented with a bunch of flowers by the killers.

This year's film - The Baader Meinhof Complex - by Uli Edel, has been named as Germany's official entry for the 2009 foreign language film Oscar.

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