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Colonia Dignidad cult suspects arrested in Chile • Wednesday May 25, 2011

Police in Chile have arrested two suspected members of the secretive sect, Colonia Dignidad, the BBC reports:

Rebeca Schaefer and Peter Schmidt are accused of kidnapping, manslaughter and membership of an illicit organisation.

They handed themselves in after a judge ordered their arrest on Monday along with five others.

The judge issued a warrant for the arrest of Hartmut Hopp, the deputy leader of Colonia Dignidad who is thought to have fled to Germany.

Ms Schaefer is the adopted daughter of the former cult leader and Nazi sympathiser, Paul Schaefer, who died in prison in April 2010.

He was serving a 20-year term for sexually abusing children at Colonia Dignidad.

The Baptist preacher founded the commune in 1961 in a remote area about 390km (245 miles) south of the capital Santiago. [...]

Colonia Dignidad served as a torture centre during the military rule of Gen Augusto Pinochet.

The colony was taken over by the Chilean government in 2005.

A subsequent investigation showed how it operated as a state within a state, with children forced to live separately from their parents.

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