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Cult members jailed for child abuse in Chile

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Photo: DPA
06:14 CET+01:00
Chile's Supreme Court late on Monday sentenced four Germans and a Chilean to prison terms of between five and 11 years for abusing children at a former secretive enclave of German settlers.

The court upheld a 2004 verdict against the five former leaders of the Colonia Dignidad, a cult-like community in southern Chile that was also used to hold political prisoners during the Pinochet dictatorship.

The top court found the five guilty of "rape of a minor under the age of 12 and 16 crimes of sexual abuse of minors, failure to turn over a minor and child abduction."

It sentenced German nationals Gerhard Mucke and Gunter Schaffrik to 11 years in prison, and Ger Seewald to eight years.

Five year prison terms were handed down to Dennis Alvear, a Chilean, and Hartmut Hopp, a German who fled the country in 2011. Chile has sought Hopp's extradition, but Germany has rejected the request.

Hopp was considered the right hand man of Paul Schäfer, who founded the strictly governed community in 1961 and died in prison in 2010 at age 88 while serving a 20 year sentence for child abuse and torture.

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Hundreds of Germans lived in the Colonia Dignidad, which supported itself through farming.

AFP/mry

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