• Germany's news in English
 

Sect doctor could face jail for Chile abuse

Published: 09 Apr 2013 14:50 GMT+02:00

Hartmut Hopp, 68, was one of six leading members of Colonia Dignidad, a now notorious group which was so awful that human rights organization Amnesty International has been campaigning in Germany for him to be jailed.

"Normally we call for the release of prisoners. But in this case it is the other way around," Klaus Walter from Amnesty International told The Local on Tuesday. He and others were handing out leaflets about the case in the western German city of Krefeld a couple of weeks ago.

Hopp has been home in Germany since May 2011, when he was one of six men convicted by a Chilean court of abetting child abuse for supplying children to the paedophile sect leader Paul Schäfer. The conviction was confirmed by Chile's top court this January.

Hopp fled Chile for Krefeld after the court's decision, and has lived there ever since with his wife, safe in the knowledge that the German constitution prevents the extradition of German citizens.

Even an international arrest warrant issued by Interpol on the request of Chilean authorities cannot trump this.

Germans also investigating

But the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger reported on Tuesday that German prosecutors were not only pursuing their own investigation into Hopp's actions in Chile - they were also awaiting a special request from Chile for Germany to execute the sentence of its courts.

"We are working on two tracks," Klaus Schreiber, spokesman for the Krefeld public prosecutor told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.

"For one, we are carrying out our own investigative process. As well as that, we are waiting for the Chileans to submit a request for the German Federal Republic to take over the prosecution. But this has not yet been done."

He said the authorities were checking to see whether the foreign verdict could match German standards so that the sentence could be carried out here. "Then it could be turned into a German verdict and be carried out here as normal," Schreiber said.

That would mean Hopp serving his five-year jail sentence in Germany.

"Personally, and I have been following this case closely for 30 years, this charge of helping someone else to abuse children was not the real thing," said Walter.

"He should be behind bars for murder or intending to murder, and the abuse of pharmaceuticals. He was drugging the prisoners and the inhabitants of the place for years. That's what he should be in prison for."

But he said it was difficult for the German authorities to look into those claims as they did not speak Spanish or have access to official Chilean documents, he added.

The German investigation into Hopp concerns his actions as the only doctor at Colonia Dignidad. He is accused of abusing medicines, giving high doses of psycho-active drugs to people without any medical need.

Hopp's lawyer Helfried Roubicek said he was prepared to fully cooperate with the German authorities, but that he had worked in Chile in accordance to the laws of the land.

A row of allegations

Amnesty said that Hopp had moved to Chile in 1962 and helped to create the Colonia Dignidad, becoming one of the sect's leaders during the 1970s, and acting as the leader Schäfer's "right hand man".

"As the only doctor of the sect Hopp led the hospital in which children were tortured with electric shocks and people were systematically sedated with psycho pharmaceuticals," Amnesty said in its journal from December 2011.

"At the request of Schäfer he maintained close contacts to the military junta... Hopp probably played a central role in the cooperation between the regime and the Colonia Dignidad. For example when it was about torturing members of the Chilean opposition to death in the German enclave and making them 'disappear'."

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Amazon 'paying local tax on sales in Germany'
Photo: Uli Deck/dpa

Amazon 'paying local tax on sales in Germany'

According to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, online retailer Amazon has started paying tax on profits from its sales to German customers in Germany instead of in Luxembourg READ  

German woman, 65, has quadruplets
Photo: DPA

German woman, 65, has quadruplets

A 65-year-old German woman, who already has 13 children, has given birth to quadruplets after undergoing an artificial insemination procedure in Ukraine. READ  

German WWII remains exhumed in Bosnia
Photo: DPA

German WWII remains exhumed in Bosnia

The remains of about 20 people, thought to be German and Italian soldiers killed in Bosnia during World War II, have been exhumed in the east of the country, officials said Friday. READ  

Sotherby's sells Nazi-era art trove find
Some 1,600 works of art were found behind this door in 2012. Photo: DPA

Sotherby's sells Nazi-era art trove find

A painting by Max Liebermann from a Nazi-era art trove found in Germany last year will go on sale in London next month, the first from the collection to be sold off, Sotheby's said on Friday. READ  

Family's ten-year quest for truth about dead son
Jeremiah Duggan. Photo: Justice for Jeremy

Family's ten-year quest for truth about dead son

The family of a British student killed in Wiesbaden over 12 years ago made a fresh step towards justice on Thursday, after a London coroner disagreed with German authorities' belief that he killed himself. READ  

Property of the week
Property of the Week: May 22nd
Photo: Mr Lodge

Property of the Week: May 22nd

Modern and sophisticated: This week’s property combines classic architecture with chic furnishings to create an elegant and luxurious living experience. READ  

83-year-old gets second drug dealing sentence
The judge said, given his age, he was not the ideal candidate for therapy. Photo:DPA

83-year-old gets second drug dealing sentence

An 83-year-old man was handed a six month suspended sentence on Thursday after being caught carrying seven bags of heroin in Düsseldorf. READ  

Carnival of Cultures in Berlin: six top picks
The dazzling colour of 2014's festival parade. Photo: Karneval der Kulturen

Carnival of Cultures in Berlin: six top picks

This weekend Berlin will be lit up by the vibrancy and colour of the Carnival of Cultures, an annual four-day urban festival that celebrates the diversity of Germany's capital. Here are six things not to miss. READ  

Bayern fans bring club's earliest years to light
FC Bayern's first team in 1925, the year of the commemorative publication. Photo: Jewish Museum

Bayern fans bring club's earliest years to light

For decades the early history of FC Bayern München was forgotten, but FCB fans have re-discovered a book from 1925 documenting the club's founding moments. READ  

Top spy admits: We're 'dependent' on NSA
Gerhard Schindler admitted that the BND had made mistakes in its handling of NSA requests. Photo: DPA

Top spy admits: We're 'dependent' on NSA

The head of the German Intelligence Agency (BND) told a special parliamentary committee on Thursday that his agency is 'dependent on' the American National Security Agency (NSA). READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,796
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd