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CRIME

Police ram bike to nab fugitive from Aachen

Police on Tuesday apprehended convicted murderer Peter Paul Michalski after five days on the run following a dramatic escape from an Aachen maximum-security prison.

Police ram bike to nab fugitive from Aachen
Michalski. Photo: DPA

The armed and dangerous 46-year-old was overpowered by plainclothes police officers near the small town of Schermbeck near Düsseldorf around 10 am in the morning. They caught up with him while he was cycling down regional road B58 on a silver bike and rammed him into a ditch. No one was injured in the operation.

Michalski’s arrest ended an intense nationwide manhunt after he and his 50-year-old co-conspirator Michael Heckhoff broke out jail last Thursday. They hijacked two taxis, a 19-year-old student in her car, and a married couple in their escape efforts. None of their victims were injured, despite the two being described as brutally dangerous and erratic criminals.

Interior Minister for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia said Tuesday’s arrest was a “brilliant success by the police” and thanked them for their service.

Both men had been serving life sentences without chance of parole at the Aachen prison. Heckhoff, who was captured on Sunday in Mülheim an der Ruhr, had been convicted of kidnapping and attempted murder. Michalski was serving out his sentence for the 1993 murder of a fellow robbery accomplice.

He narrowly escaped police capture on Monday by disappearing into a high-rise building, according to police.

On Sunday, police also arrested a prison guard on suspicion he helped in the escape of the two violent inmates from the maximum-security prison. The 40-year-old guard is thought to have helped the men get through locked areas and providing them with loaded prison service weapons as well as ammunition, according to statement by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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