Christian Klar (born 20 May 1952 in Freiburg im Breisgau) was a leading member of the second generation Red Army Faction (RAF) between the 1970s and 1980s. He had been incarcerated since 1982 in a Bruchsal prison, but he was released on 19 December 2008 after serving over 26 years of his life sentence.
The son of a teacher and vice-principal, Klar attended school in Lörrach, and in 1972 graduated from a school in Ettlingen. He went on to study history and philosophy at the University of Heidelberg, and became, for a while, a member of a young democratic movement.
Around 1973 he moved to a Karlsruhe flat with his girlfriend Adelheid Schulz, Günter Sonnenberg and Knut Folkerts (who would all subsequently become RAF members) and in 1974 he took part in the occupation of the Hamburg Amnesty International offices protesting against the detention of RAF prisoners.
Around 1976, Klar joined the RAF and soon became a leading member of the second generation. In November 1982 he was arrested at an arms depot in Friedrichsruh. Similarly to Brigitte Mohnhaupt, he was given a collective sentence for all the major RAF crimes since 1977. These included:
The April 1977 murder of Siegfried Buback, his driver and his bodyguard
The July 1977 murder of Jürgen Ponto
The kidnap and murder of Hanns Martin Schleyer and the murder of his driver and three bodyguards
He was also charged with:
Attempted murder of a Swiss border guard and a motorist in Riehen, January 1977
Attempted rocket attack on the offices of the federal prosecutor, in August 1977
A Zurich bank raid, murder of a bystander, and attempted murder of a policeman, in November 1979
An assassination attempt on U.S. General Frederick Kroesen using an RPG-7 anti-tank rocket, on 15 September 1981
Klar was imprisoned from 1982 to December 2008. In early 2007 he petitioned Bundespräsident Horst Köhler to be pardoned but was denied. He may have damaged his chance at a pardon by making anti-capitalist comments in January 2007, but he was released on 19 December 2008 after serving over 26 years of his life sentence. Klar showed no remorse for his crimes.
Families of RAF victims, as well as politicians, were outraged. Jürgen Vietor, co-pilot of Lufthansa Flight 181, sent a letter of protest to Germany's President and returned his Federal Cross of Merit. He questioned why "perpetrators receive more care and attention in our state, than victims?"