Chile asks Germany to extradite fugitive doctor

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Chile's Supreme Court has requested the extradition from Germany of a doctor accused of human rights violations at a secretive, now disbanded German colony in southern Chile, the court said Tuesday.

The court's unanimous decision came in response to a request by a judge who is investigating cases of kidnapping and homicide at Colonia Dignidad, a 32,100 acre (13,000 hectare) enclave founded in 1961 by a former Nazi soldier, Paul Schaefer.

The extradition request was for Hartmutt Hopp, the colony's doctor and considered Schaefer's right-hand man, who escaped to Germany in May.

Noting that Chile and Germany have no extradition treaty, the court directed that the request be made on the basis of international laws that apply to crimes against humanity.

Schaefer died in prison last year at the age of 88 while serving a 20-year sentence for sexual abuse of minors and torture.

Chilean courts determined that Schaefer had abused children who lived in the colony, and that the enclave was used during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet to hold political prisoners.

With the return of democracy to Chile, Colonia Dignidad was closed. Some of its inhabitants received economic and psychological assistance from the Chilean government and others returned to Germany.

Chilean authorities said Hopp arrived in Germany May 15 after passing through Argentina and Paraguay.

© 2011 AFP

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