Latin America & Caribbean

German court asked to jail Chile sect doctor Hartmut Hopp

Hartmut Hopp, the doctor of Chile's secretive Colonia Dignidad Image copyright AFP
Image caption Hartmut Hoppe was convicted in Chile for complicity in child sex abuse in 2011

German prosecutors have asked a court to enforce a jail sentence passed on a doctor convicted in Chile of child sex abuse at a secretive German commune.

Prosecutors in the town of Krefeld say Hartmut Hopp should serve a five-year sentence given to him by a Chilean court in 2011.

Hopp, who is now 72, fled to Germany before he could begin the sentence.

The crimes took place at Colonia Dignidad, a commune founded by former Nazi officer Paul Schaefer in 1961.

He died in prison in 2010 after serving a prison sentence for sexually abusing children there.

Hopp was part of Schaefer's inner circle and represented Colonia Dignidad in its external affairs. He was convicted of 16 counts of aiding in the sexual abuse of children.

Prosecutors in Krefeld said the Chilean sentence complied with the standards of German justice. The court will now decide whether Hopp should serve his sentence in Germany.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Paul Schaefer, a former Nazi, founded the commune in 1961

Colonia Dignidad was used as a torture centre during the military rule of General Augusto Pinochet in the 1970s and 1980s.

Thousands of children and young people are estimated to have been abused there.

The commune was set up in a remote area, about 350km (220 miles) south of the capital Santiago.

Protected by armed guards and dogs, it became a secretive anti-Semitic and anti-communist cult.

The colony was taken over by the Chilean government in 2005.

A subsequent investigation showed how it operated as a state within a state, with children forced to live separately from their parents.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Colonia Dignidad is now a luxury hotel complex known as Villa Baviera

Victims accused Schaefer of regularly abusing young boys. Horror stories emerged of the sons of poor local families "disappearing" within the compound.

Schaefer, who escaped to Argentina in 1997, was arrested there in 2005 and extradited to Chile.

The following year he was jailed for 33 years for the sexual abuse of 25 German and Chilean children as well as torture, illegally possessing weapons and one case of murder.

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