Docu may reopen German terrorist case


COLOGNE, Germany -- Leading German politicians are calling for a new investigation into a 30-year-old terrorist case after a TV documentary revealed that the German government may have been complicit in the suicide deaths of three members of '70s left-wing terror group the Red Army Faction.

The two-part documentary "RAF," which aired on German public broadcaster ARD this week, investigates the final days of terrorists Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe, who killed themselves in prison on Oct. 17, 1977.

According to "RAF" directors Stefan Aust and Helmar Buchel, prison authorities and the German authorities had planted illegal wiretaps in the cells of the terrorists and may have been listening in when they planned their joint suicide.

"I find the very idea unbelievable and intolerable, that state authorities may have known about the suicide plans and done nothing to prevent them," Dieter Weifelsputz, a parliamentary spokesman for Germany's ruling Social Democratic Party, said Friday as he called for an investigation into the allegations.

Seconding that was the former head of Germany's Federal Criminal Police Department, Horst Herold. Herold was in charge in the late '70s and says he "knew nothing" about the wiretapping. He has demanded a federal investigation.

German audiences are being bombarded by documentaries on the Red Army Faction in the lead-up to the 30th anniversary of the group suicide, which marked the unofficial end of the group's wave of terror. Many observers see parallels between that time in Germany and the post-Sept. 11 world of sleeper cells, bomb plots and media hysteria.

Germany's leading film producer, Bernd Eichinger, has seized on the topic for his upcoming film "Der Baader-Meinhof Komplex" and Nico Hofmann, one of the country's top TV producers, is currently shooting the big-budget miniseries "Mogadishu" about the Red Army Faction's most notorious crime: the hijacking of a Lufthansa flight to Somalia in 1977.