Chilean former spy and German 'cult' members sentenced over kidnappings

AFP/October 19, 2015

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.

Each of the three – Fernando Gómez Segovia, formerly with the feared National Intelligence Directorate (Dina), and Germans Kurt Schenellemkamp Nelaimischkies and Gerhard Mucke Koschitze – were given five years prison for their role in the April-June 1975 kidnappings, a court statement 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.

Colonia Dignidad was founded in 1961 by Paul Schaefer, a former medic in the Nazi-era German army who fled Germany in 1959 after being charged with child abuse. More than 200 Germans lived in Colonia Dignidad.

Schaefer, who died in 2010 at the age of 88, was accused of running a cult in the heavily fortified “colony”, lording over his followers with sadistic brutality.

He was sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2006 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.

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