• 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
Constitutional Court allows 'FCK CPS' sticker

Constitutional Court allows 'FCK CPS' sticker

The Constitutional Court decided on Tuesday that it is within someone's right to freedom of expression to wear the FCK CPS logo, but only if the insult is aimed at police in general. READ  

Germany's 'other genocide' in Namibia
Protests in 2014 about the recognition of the Herero genocide. Photo: DPA

Germany's 'other genocide' in Namibia

Between 1904 and 1907 German colonial rulers in Namibia attempted to exterminate a whole section of the native population, in another horrific chapter of history campaigners are calling on the country to face up to. READ  

Nepal earthquake
At least one German confirmed dead in Nepal
Search and rescue efforts are ongoing in Nepal. Photo:DPA

At least one German confirmed dead in Nepal

The Foreign Ministry confirmed to The Local on Tuesday that one German citizen was killed in the earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday. READ  

Germany may have 10m fewer people by 2060
Photo: DPA

Germany may have 10m fewer people by 2060

If low birth rates and high death rates continue as they are now, a major decline in Germany’s population is “inevitable,” the federal statistics office (Destatis) reported on Tuesday. READ  

Opinion
Germany should fear Brexit more than Grexit
British Pime Minister David Cameron has promised a referendum on EU membership. Photo: DPA

Germany should fear Brexit more than Grexit

With all European – and especially German – eyes on Greece, Michael Wohlgemuth asks why the EU isn't more worried about a British exit from the Union. READ  

Police shoot man dead in Rhineland-Palatinate
Photo: DPA

Police shoot man dead in Rhineland-Palatinate

A 40-year-old man died in hospital in Grünstadt, Rhineland Palatinate after being shot by police on Monday evening. READ  

Daimler hit with Greek corruption charges
German soldiers in a 'Unimog' truck made by Daimler. Photo: DPA

Daimler hit with Greek corruption charges

Greek prosecutors announced on Monday they are bringing charges against several Daimler managers, who they say were involved in multi-million euro bribes to Greek authorities. READ  

Germany's surrender order under the hammer
Admiral Dönitz (m) with Albert Speer (l) and General Alfred Jodl (r). Photo: DPA

Germany's surrender order under the hammer

Marooned on a naval base in northwest Germany, pinned down by advancing Allied forces and Adolf Hitler dead, the last leader of the Third Reich hammered out the surrender order. READ  

Merkel not yet 'Mutti' of the Twittersphere
Photo: DPA

Merkel not yet 'Mutti' of the Twittersphere

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the only G7 leader not to have a Twitter account, according to a report on the social network released on Tuesday. READ  

Kindergarten wage negotiations fail
Photo: DPA

Kindergarten wage negotiations fail

The public services union Ver.di announced on Monday evening that negotiations over a pay increase for Kindergarten teachers had failed. Strikes will start at the end of next week and go on for an indefinite period. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Gallery
German beer day: take the tour
Features
Off to Norway at 18 km/hour
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Gallery
The smileys Germans love to text
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
National
Expats face Monday deadline to register to vote for UK election
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
VIDEO: Mario Draghi suffers anti-ECB confetti attack
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
Germanwings co-pilot 'searched suicide info'
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
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

7,215
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd
?>