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Ex-Nazi Paul Schaefer dies at 88

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-04-24

Former Nazi Paul Schaefer, who founded a secretive German cult in southern Chile in the 1960s and was later convicted of sexually abusing children, died of heart failure in a prison hospital on Saturday, officials said.

AFP - Paul Schaefer, a former Nazi corporal and founder of a mysterious German enclave in southern Chile, died Saturday in a prison hospital where he was serving 20 years for sexually abusing children, prison officials said.

Schaefer, 88, died just after 7:00 am (1100 GMT) amid worsening health due to heart disease, according to local media.

Schaefer was taken to hospital in July last year with heart problems and was given respiratory assistance. He had been sentenced in May 2006 to 20 years in jail for abusing and torturing children and other settlers at the armed Colonia Dignidad enclave.

The large, self-sufficient German colony in an isolated region south of Santiago was established by Shaefer in 1961 after he fled Germany to escape child abuse charges.

The 13,000-hectare (32,000-acre) mountain resort, 350 kilometers (215 miles) south of Santiago, was home to about 300 refugees from Nazi Germany and their descendants. It was equipped with a hospital and an airport, and became a "state-within-a-state."

But the colony's leader later fled to Argentina in August 1996 after the families of the abused children filed complaints.

The property was seized in 2005 by the Chilean state, and Schaefer was arrested in March 2005 and extradited back to Chile.

Schaefer was also charged with collaborating in human rights abuses during the regime of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990, including allowing Chilean military agents to use Colonia Dignidad to torture political prisoners who had disappeared.

He had also been accused of collaborating in human rights abuses during Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990 regime.
 

Date created : 2010-04-24

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