By adrbr @ 2008-02-22 17:20:42
Stammheim Prison (German: Justizvollzugsanstalt Stuttgart-Stammheim) is a prison in Stuttgart, Baden Württemberg, Germany. It is situated on the northern boundaries of Stuttgart in the city disctrict of Stuttgart-Stammheim - right between fields and apartment blocks on the fringes of Stammheim. The prison was built as a high security prison between 1959 and 1963 and taken into operation in 1964.
Stammheim Prison became famous when it housed the leading members of the Baader-Meinhof terrorist group during their trials, as well as the courthouse in which they were tried. The section in which the terrorists were kept was specially built in 1975 and at the time recognized as one of the most secure prison blocks in the world. In spite of this, the arrested terrorists had firearms smuggled to them.
After Ulrike Meinhof had hanged herself on May 9, 1976, Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe reportedly committed suicide in the high security block during the night of October 18, 1977, which became known as the "Death Night" for the leaders of the Red Army Faction. Andreas Bader and Jan-Carl Raspe were said to have shot themselves, whereas Gudrun Ensslin apparently chose a method of suicide similar to that of Ulrike Meinhof. A fourth member, Irmgard Möller, stabbed herself four times in the chest with a stolen knife. She survived her suicide attempt and has since stated that the deaths were not suicide, but rather extrajudical killings undertaken by the German government of the time, a claim strongly denied by the German governments former and present. The deaths of the prisoners were among the events collectively known as the German Autumn, which also included a series of terrorist attacks and the West German government's response.
Officials in Baden-Württemberg announced in August 2007 they are planning to tear down the section of Stammheim prison where the leaders of the RAF terrorist group where held during the 1970s. They are considering demolishing the high-rise building because it is in urgent need of renovation and new prison quarters would be built on the site of the demolished building
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