Scandal may end German commando unit

Issue 

Scandal may end German commando unit

By Catherine Brown

The shooting of suspected Red Army Faction member Wolfgang Grams by the German crack commando unit GSG9 has led to the resignation of the German interior minister and the federal prosecutor. The unit itself, facing almost daily allegations of gross misconduct will possibly be disbanded.

In an "execution" reminiscent of the British SAS murder of three Irish Republican Army volunteers at Gibraltar in 1988, Grams was shot on June 28 while lying down, unarmed, in a surrender position, according to witnesses.

His only crime was alleged membership of the RAF. There was no evidence of Grams ever having committed a violent act or even having planned one.

Thirty-five GSG9 commandos were involved in the raid. One commando was killed, and early reports blamed the RAF for his death, thus "justifying" Grams' killing. However, later reports suggested the commando was in fact shot by "friendly fire".

Public outrage at the attempted cover-up of the killing has increased pressure on the Kohl government to disband the unit altogether.