Human Rights NATIONAL

Germany refuses to imprison former Colonia Dignidad doctor

DÜSSELDORF – Hartmut Hopp, the former doctor of the notorious Colonia Dignidad, will not serve his outstanding prison sentence in Germany. That is the outcome of a higher court ruling in Germany. Earlier, Germany had already refused the extradition Chile had asked for.

Hartmut Hopp, 74, served as doctor in the notorious Colonia Dignidad, a colony in the south of Chile, led by ex-nazi Paul Schaefer. Colonia Dignidad became well-known for the sexual abuse of the many children in the enclave, while the leadership of the sect enriched themselves with weapon- and drugs smuggling. Colonia Dignidad was also used by dictator Pinochet, who let his secret police use the place to torture opposition.

In 2011, Hopp was sentenced to five years in prison for sexual abuse of minors, but he fled to Germany before he could be captured. After the German authorities refused to extradite Hopp to Chile, the Chilean government requested Germany to let Hopp serve his outstanding sentence in his home country. The Higher Court in Düsseldorf considered today that it is not proven that the charges that led to the conviction in Chile, would also led to a prison sentence in Germany.

As the court stated, “it has not been possible to prove any concrete action that Hopp had actively collaborated in the abuses committed by Schaefer”. Following the statement of the German court, Hopp was not responsible for the selection of the children who were victim of the abuses, as he didn´t hand them over directly to Schaefer. The court said that it was Schaefer, and not Hopp, who was director of the boarding school the abused children were going to.

Green Party politician Renate Künast lamented the decision, saying that “the decision will cause great pain and suffering for the victims of Colonia Dignidad.”

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