The former doctor of the infamous German sect "Colonia Dignidad" in Chile, Hartmut Hopp, may face prison in Germany. On August 2017, prosecutors in Krefeld appealed to a regional court to enforce the jail sentence handed down to Hopp by Chilean courts. ECCHR has called for a swift decision from the court.
In 2011, Hopp was sentenced in Chile to five years' imprisonment for aiding the sexual abuse of minors, but escaped punishment by fleeing to Germany. Considering the fact that he is now threatened with a prison sentence of five years, it is the responsibility of the prosecutor's office to prevent a potential escape.
Colonia Dignidad, founded by a German named Paul Schäfer in 1961, was a fortress-like German settlement in central Chile where grave human rights violations were committed over several decades. Opponents of the Pinochet regime (1973-1990) were "disappeared," tortured and murdered at the enclave. German and Chilean children were subjected to systematic sexual abuse there. Hopp was part of Paul Schäfer's inner circle and represented Colonia Dignidad in its external affairs.
Since 2011, ECCHR has been working to address the human rights violations at Colonia Dignidad and the sect's collaboration with the Pinochet dictatorship. The primary aim is to support the criminal proceedings in Chile through legal action in Germany.
In August 2011, ECCHR and its partner lawyer Petra Schlagenhauf submitted a criminal complaint against Hopp. Shortly afterwards prosecutors in Krefeld opened a formal investigation on the case based on the complaint. In February 2012, Hopp was called as a suspect to give evidence. The investigative proceedings against Hopp in Krefeld are a sign of hope for many victims that there will finally be serious investigations and prosecutions concerning the crimes committed in Colonia Dignidad. Some of the sect's victims live in Germany and could give evidence. Investigations originally began in Germany in 1988, when prosecutors in Bonn opened investigatory proceedings against Hopp. Evidence was heard from several witnesses and documentation from the Chilean proceedings was submitted in Germany but there were insufficient efforts made to advance the proceedings.