German court frees alleged ex-guerrilla

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BERLIN (AP) — A German court ordered the release of a French woman accused of involvement in a guerrilla group's murder of a conservative Chilean politician, but declined Friday to explain the reason for the decision.

Chile had asked Germany to extradite Marie Emmanuelle Verhoeven, who was arrested in January while trying to board a flight from Hamburg to Dubai. She had been wanted for almost two decades over her alleged involvement in the 1991 slaying of Jaime Guzman, leader of the Independent Democratic Union, conservative Chilean party.

A spokeswoman for the Hamburg regional court, Ruth Huetteroth, said judges ruled on June 6 that Verhoven couldn't be extradited and released her from detention. Her current whereabouts are unknown.

"In international extradition cases formal matters are examined, not the criminal allegations," said Huetteroth. She declined to elaborate on what formal flaws there might have been in Chile's extradition request.

Verhoeven allegedly was a member of the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front set up in the 1980s to fight the 1973-90 dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet in Chile.

The 54-year-old, who is also known as "Commander Ana," is accused by Chile of murder, forming a terrorist organization and grievous bodily harm resulting in death.

Chile's embassy in Berlin didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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