In 1977 he was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the Netherlands for murder. Later he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in West Germany for crimes including the murder of public prosecutor Siegfried Buback: however he was then released from prison in 1995 when doubts were raised about the reliability of the original conviction in Germany.
Time with the RAF and arrest
On September 22, 1977 Folkerts and Elisabeth von Dyck set out to return a car to a Dutch car rental business. The car had been rented by Sigrid Sternebeck and used in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Hanns Martin Schleyer. The surroundings were under surveillance and the police tried to arrest Folkerts. Folkerts fatally shot Dutch policeman Arie Kranenburg (born June 10, 1931) and seriously wounded a second officer. Folkerts was arrested, Elisabeth von Dyck, originally mistaken for Brigitte Mohnhaupt, managed to escape.
Trials and imprisonment
Knut Folkerts was sentenced in Utrecht to 20 years in prison for the murder of Arie Kranenburg. After one year in Dutch custody however he was transferred to Germany where he faced further serious charges. On July 31, 1980 he was sentenced in Stuttgart to two life terms in prison for the murder of public prosecutor Siegfried Buback and his two bodyguards, for forming a terrorist organisation and for the robbery at the firearms business in Frankfurt am Main.
On October 16, 1995 he was released early, however. Former RAF-members had stated that Folkerts had been in Amsterdam at the time of the murder, and so was not involved directly in the action. In May 2007 Folkerts said in an interview with Spiegel magazine, that he knew about the Red Army Faction plan to kill Siegfried Buback, but he was not directly involved. The lawyer Michael RosenthaI, interviewed by the news magazine Der Spiegel in 2007, reiterated doubts about the reliability of witnesses who had testified to having seen Folkerts at the scene of the crime.
On August 5, 2005, the Dutch authorities demanded – not least because of pressure from the murdered policeman's widow, Joke Kranenburg – that Folkert should serve the rest of his sentence for the Utrecht murder. They submitted a Judicial Assistance application to the German legal authorities. The Dutch move was designed to circumvent a recent (July 2005) judgement by the German Constitutional Court which had blocked the extradition of German citizens. On May 31, 2006, a court in The Hague ruled that Folkerts must serve a sentence of 20 years in the Netherlands. However, on June 16, 2011 the Hamburg Regional High Court determined that the Dutch application was inadmissible for reasons of proportionality. The Hamburg court determined that Folkert had renounced terrorism and behaved well since his release in 1995, and they also noted that he had expressed his regrets to the widow of the policeman whom he had killed.
On December 28, 2007 the investigating judges of the German Federal Court of Justice made a Coercive Detention Order of up to six months against the former RAF members Knut Folkerts, Christian Klar and Brigitte Mohnhaupt. This was intended to force the detainees to make a statement on the 1977 murder of Siegfried Buback. Folkerts' lawyer stated that he would not testify, however. On August 7, 2008 The Federal Court of Justice lifted the Coercive Detention Order.
- Stefan Aust: Der Baader-Meinhof-Komplex. Hoffmann und Campe, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-455-50029-5.
- Pflieger, Klaus: Die Aktion "Spindy", Die Entführung des Arbeitgeberpräsidenten Dr. Hanns-Martin Schleyer, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft Baden-Baden, 1. Auflage 1997, ISBN 3-7890-4598-5.
- Nach dem bewaffneten Kampf : ehemalige Mitglieder der RAF und Bewegung 2. Juni sprechen mit Therapeuten über ihre Vergangenheit / hrsg. von Angelika Holderberg. - Gießen: Psychosozial-Verl., 2007. - ISBN 978-3-89806-588-7.
- "Urteil gegen RAF-Terrorist Knut Folkerts: "Systematischer Fehler" - SPIEGEL ONLINE". Spiegel.de. 2007-08-20. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
- Sц╪ddeutsche.de GmbH, Munich, Germany (2008-12-13). "Das Urteil gegen Knut Folkerts - Der Mann unter dem Helm - Politik - Süddeutsche.de". Sueddeutsche.de. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
- Spiegel Online: „Ex-Terroristen entlasten Klar und Folkerts als Buback-Mörder“ (21. April 2007)
- Film Die RAF, Stefan Aust und Helmar Büchel
- Interview mit Knut Folkerts in: Der Spiegel 20/2007, Seite 60.
- Rechtsanwalt in Spiegel Diskussion:…„denkbar, dass damals alle Zeugen geirrt haben“ (20. August 2007)
- Bart Jungmann (31 May 2006). "Voormalig RAF-terrorist moet alsnog cel in ... Vanwege de moord op de Utrechtse politieman Arie Kranenburg in 1977...". De Volkskrant, Amsterdam. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
- Anwälte erwarten keine Aussagen bei Beugehaft auf welt.de (5. Januar 2008)
- Pressemitteilung des Bundesgerichtshofs auf juris.bundesgerichtshof.de (15. August 2008)