Germany's President Horst Köhler unexpectedly announced today that he has refused clemency to the convicted RAF terrorists Christian Klar and Birgit Hogefeld.
Klar,now 54, has been in prison for 24 years and is 2 years away from being eligible for parole and was turned down by Köhler's predecesor Johannes Rau as part of his review he met Klar and as a consequence was met with furious critcism by conservative politicians.
In February this year Klar sent a provocative anti-capitalist statement to a conference of far-left groups which was picked up by a demonstration that he showed no remorse, nor had he changed his radical political views.
Hogefeld received a life sentence in 1996 for the murder of an American soldier and a bomb attack on a United States airbase in 1985. She will not be eligible for parole until 2011 at the earliest.
The Christian Social Union, the conservative Bavarian sister party to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, attacked Köhler over the weekend, saying they would not support him if he were to stand again for president in 2009, should he grant Klar clemency.
This controversy follows the release by Klar in March this year of RAF member Brigitte Mohnhaupt before her sentence expired.(See post by Lord Patel 12/2/07)