Six Former Leaders of Colonia Dignidad Sentenced

Six Former Leaders of Colonia Dignidad Sentenced

By Anna Grummitton

I Love Chile, January 29, 2013

The men received sentences yesterday of between five and eleven years for being accomplices to rape in the 1990s.

SANTIAGO – In a Supreme Court ruling yesterday, six members of the cult-like organization Colonia Dignidad were given prison sentences for being accomplices to multiple acts of child abuse and rape by the organization’s founder Paul Schäfer.

The crimes occurred between 1993 and 1997 within the community of German immigrants then known as Colonia Dignidad (now called Villa Baviera), located in the Linares Province in Chile’s Maule Region.

Chilean Dennys Alvear Henriquez, alongside German Gerd Seewald Lefevre, Gerard Mücke, Gunter Schaffrick, Kurt Herbert Schnellenkamp and Hartmut Hopp, were all sentenced to multiple years in jail for their crimes.

Schaffrick, Mücke and Seewald were sentenced to eleven years; Alvear Henriquez to eight years and 180 days; and Hopp and Schnellenkamp to five years and one day.

Hopp, however, is at large in Germany since he fled Chile in May 2011. Germany has refused the Chilean government’s requests for his extradition.

Ten other defendants were sentenced with probation for being accessories to Schäfer’s crimes by aiding in acts such as child abduction and helping Schäfer escape from Chile to Argentina in 1997.

The ruling was issued unanimously, and came after 19 months of examination of court cases regarding abuses within Colonia Dignidad.

Schäfer, a former Nazi pilot, founded Colonia Dignidad in 1961. He was eventually imprisoned in Chile in 2005 to serve a twenty year sentence for abduction and rape of children. In 2010, he died in custody.

The compound was also used as a torture center for political opponents captured by the secret police during the Pinochet era.

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