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2 West German Terrorists Given Life Sentences

March 14, 1985|TYLER MARSHALL | Times Staff Writer

BONN — Two members of a West German terrorist group were sentenced to life imprisonment Wednesday for the 1977 killings of a prominent banker and a leading industrialist.

Adelheid Schulz, 29, and Rolf Wagner, 40, both leading members of the Red Army Faction, a group of leftist terrorists, were sentenced by a Duesseldorf court. The life terms were imposed as terrorist activity, mounted principally by the same urban guerrilla group against military targets, continued to plague the country.

On Tuesday, police defused a bomb before it could explode at a U.S. Army officer's club near the southwestern city of Stuttgart.

Kidnap, Murder

Schulz was given three concurrent life terms for the kidnap-murder of industrialist Hanns-Martin Schleyer and the killing of his chauffeur and three bodyguards. She was also sentenced for her role in the killing of banker Juergen Ponto.

Wagner was given two concurrent terms of life imprisonment for his role in the Schleyer kidnaping.

The two are the third and fourth members of the Red Army Faction to be jailed for life. Juergen Booch and Stefen Wisniewski are both serving life terms in connection with Schleyer's death.

Two more of the remaining 28 jailed members of the urban guerrilla group are expected to be sentenced shortly for their roles in the Schleyer slaying.

The abortive hijacking of a Lufthansa airliner and the killings of Schleyer, Ponto and federal prosecutor Siegfried Burbach within a few months of each other in 1977 constituted the height of Red Army Faction activity in West Germany.

Baader-Meinhof Suicides

Shortly after the hijacking, the group's most notorious members, Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof, committed suicide in jail and the group began to become less active.

After years of inaction, the group resurfaced last December with a bombing campaign directed mainly against North Atlantic Treaty Organization installations.

The latest attacks began as jailed members of the group announced a hunger strike for improved prison conditions. The prisoners broke off their fast after the Feb. 1 murder of Munich defense industry executive Ernst Zimmermann, who was shot in his home by two terrorists believed to be members of the Red Army Faction.

Last week, bombs caused property damage but no injuries in three different cities. A department store bombing last week, which authorities initially believed was also the work of the terrorist group, appears now to have been planted by a disenchanted youth acting independently. That blast injured nine persons, two of them seriously.

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