• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Sect doctor could face jail for Chile abuse

The Local · 9 Apr 2013, 14:50

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.

Story continues below…

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
German EU commissioner doubts Brexit will happen
EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. Photo: EPA.

Germany's EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger raised doubts on Tuesday about whether Britain would leave the bloc, saying he wouldn't bet on "Brexit".

Merkel offers Russia a lifting of sanctions - if it behaves
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that she has "the very greatest interest in stopping sanctions" against Russia, Reuters reports.

'Idiot' youth lets regional train drive over him as dare
Photo: DPA

In a stunt police have described as "incomprehensible idiocy," a drunk young man from Munich lay down on the tracks in front of a fast-moving train and let it ride over him.

'Unfriendly' Germans make expat life harder: report
Photo: Pexels.com

Expats in Germany generally find it great for families and starting a career, but were turned off by the language barriers and "unfriendly" Germans upon arrival, according to a new report.

Is German diplomacy getting too chummy with Russia?
Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA/AFP Pool.

Critics have been questioning the German Foreign Minister's recent series of comments about working closer with Russia, with some labelling the diplomat a "Russia-sympathizer".

Police investigate after mosque door is bricked shut
The bricked-up door. Photo: Facebook/Netzwerk für Flüchtlinge in Parchim.

Unknown people have bricked up the entrance to a mosque in northeastern Germany and stuck racist flyers to their masonry work.

Vice-Chancellor: TTIP trade deal is dead
Photo: DPA

Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that negotiations on a massive trade deal between the European Union and the United States were effectively dead in the water.

Law to force mums to give up identity of child's real father
Photo: DPA

Germany has drafted a law requiring mothers to inform their partners if their children were fathered by another man, Justice Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday.

Gallery
Germans race bulls too, but with a difference
Photo: DPA

The most important sporting events only happen every four years: the World Cup, the Olympics, and of course the Münsing ox race.

Attempted murder charge for Isis teen who stabbed cop
A police officer stands on a train platform at Hannover main station. Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Monday they had brought charges against a 16-year-old girl who allegedly stabbed a policeman in February in an operation for Isis.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
7,431
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd