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Chilean former spy and German cult members sentenced over kidnappings

2015-10-28 Source:theguardian.com Author:theguardian.com

The late Paul Schaefer, centre, picture in 2005 after his arrest in Argentina, founded the secretive Colonia Dignidad where political prisoners were tortured by the state security service. Photograph: STR/REUTERS

A Chilean court has sentenced a former intelligence official and two residents of a secretive German community in southern Chile over the kidnapping of 50 people in 1975. Abductees were held in tunnels at secretive German-speaking community. Reports in Oct 19 from AFP,Dw.com and theguardian.com said.

The three defendants in the case, Germans Kurt Schnellenkamp and Gerhard Mücke and Chilean national Fernando Gomez Segovia, were each given five years in prison for their respective roles in the 1975 spring kidnappings, which were coordinated with General Augusto Pinochet's military dictatorship, a court statement said.

It also granted a settlement package of 20 million Chilean pesos (26,000 euros) to survivors and their immediate relatives. Dw.com’s report said.

All three are already behind bars: Segovia is in a special prison for human rights abusers during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, while the Germans are in a regular prison for sex crimes committed in Colonia Dignidad, a German-speaking community in southern Chile.

According to the court, the abductees were taken to Colonia Dignidad in a joint operation that involved Dina agents and residents of the enclave.

“The victims were interrogated under torture that consisted mainly of applying electrical current to different sensitive parts of the body,” the court said.

Enclave of torture

The village of Colonia Dignidad was founded in 1961 by Paul Schäfer, a former medic in the Third Reich, who had fled the Federal Republic of Germany in 1959 after facing child abuse charges. Schäfer, who died in 2010 at the age of 88 while serving his prison term, was accused of running a sadistic cult in the heavily fortified German "colony." He had been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing and torturing children at the site.

He was also accused of letting Pinochet’s agents torture political prisoners in a maze of stone-walled tunnels beneath Colonia Dignidad, which the Chilean state seized in 2005.

On 15 October the Chilean rights group Londres 38 published leaked documents showing a close relationship between leaders of the German enclave and high-ranking figures in Pinochet dictatorship.

The group’s 1,000-page report summarises 46,000 files discovered in Colonia Dignidad in 2000 and 2005, which were classified by the national police force’s intelligence unit.

More than 3,200 people died during Pinochet’s 1973-1990 dictatorship, according to government officials.

American Cult Expert’s View on “Colonia Dignidad”

American cult expert Rick Alan Ross, described this Colonia Dignidad cult when he was interviewed with Marc Clair on "Lions of Liberty" Podcast:

There was a group in Chile called Colonial Dignidad. That was led by a former Nazi who left Germany and created a fifty-five- square-mile compound at the foot of the Andes. His name was Paul Schaefer. He died not long ago in 2010. He created his own world, it was a compound with his own prison. And he drugged the members of the group in order to have greater influence over them, and to essentially make them submissive. And he was a pedophile who molested the children in the group. It was a horrible group and the Chilean government eventually closed it down in the 1990s. But when the dictator Pinochet was running Chile, he actually cooperated with Paul Schaefer, and Schaefer used his compound to torture and hold political prisoners for the Pinochet Regime. And when the government after Pinochet raided the compound, they found the largest cash or weapons ever to be discovered in private hands in the history of Chile. And then Paul Schaefer was sentenced to prison, he died in prison in 2010. I think very few people in the United States know that this South American cult existed. It was like a conserved city, self-efficient, and it was a quite large group involving hundreds and hundreds of people.

The entrance to Colonia Dignidad - Pinochet's German-led proxy torture chamber in a secluded part of southern Chile

Gerhard Mücke was sentenced to five years in prison in the highly-anticipated trial

Kurt Schnellenkamp's son Klaus released a memoir about growing up in the enclave, entitled 'Born in the Shadow of Fear'