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Prison for former Colonia Dignidad leaders

Jan. 29, 2013 at 10:56 AM

SANTIAGO, Chile, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Chile's Supreme Court sentenced six former leaders of Colonia Dignidad to prison for complicity in child sexual abuse committed by cult founder Paul Schafer.

The sentences climaxed a 19-month investigation of events that took place in the German colony in southern Chile between 1993 and 1997, The Santiago Times reported Tuesday.

The six, identified as Gerard Koschitzke Mucke, Gunter Schaffrik Bruckmann, Gerd Seewald Lefevre, Kurt Schnellenkamp Nelaismisckies, Harmutt Hopp Miottell and Dennys Alvear Henriquez, will serve prison sentences of between five and 11 years, the court said.

They were considered to be Schafer's "iron circle" and were suspected of helping him escape to Argentina where he spent seven years before being extradited to Chile in 2005.

Schafer died in prison in 2010 while serving a 20-year sentence for sexually abusing 26 children.

A former Nazi pilot, he founded Colonia Dignidad in 1961.

During the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, Colonia Dignidad was used as a torture center for political prisoners, the newspaper said.

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