One of the most wanted members of the West German Baader-Meinhof gang has been detained in London.
Astrid Proll, 31, is suspected of having been a member of the left-wing extremist group and its successor, the Red Army Faction.
Miss Proll was working in a West Hampstead garage under a false name when officers from Special Branch arrested her.
She is now being questioned by members of the anti-terrorist squad at Paddington Green police station in West London, where she is expected to be held for the next few days.
Scotland Yard said Miss Proll – who was working as a mechanics instructor – was not armed when she was arrested and emphasized there was no question of her being involved in criminal activity in the UK.
But West German officials said they wanted her in connection with several murders and would apply for her extradition.
Witnesses at Camden Enterprises Ltd said Miss Proll did not resist arrest.
The workshop manager, Vincent Wilcocks, told the BBC when the first uniformed police arrived he thought they had come to question him about a motoring offence.
“The next moment about 10 plain clothes officers from Scotland Yard came in and took her up to the recreation room, pushed her up against the lockers and searched her.
“I asked the police if they had a warrant but they said in this case they did not need one,” he said.
Miss Proll later issued a statement though her solicitor denying she had links with any extremist groups.
“I have lived in England for the past four years – I have no contact with the Red Army Faction and I have tried to settle down as best I could in the circumstances,” she said.
Courtesy BBC News
The Baader-Meinhof group was founded in the 1960s and aimed to overthrow capitalist society in West Germany using violence.
The West German government immediately started extradition proceedings against Astrid Proll.
She initially fought the action in the UK courts but eventually decided in June 1979 to go back to face trial in her home country.
In February 1980 she was sentenced to five-and-a-half years for bank robbery and falsifying documents.
But as she had already spent more than two thirds of her sentence in British and West German jails she was released immediately.
During a radio chat show, when asked if she was “terribly ashamed” of being associated with the RAF, Proll said she was not, but went on to say that she did disapprove of their increasingly violent acts. Interviewed by Iain Sinclair for his book “Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire,” she said that she would like to settle in Britain but did not have the money to do so.
In the late 1990s, she was advising the young think tank “xaidialoge” on how to conceptualize democracy in a language of pictures.