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Last Updated: Friday, 11 March, 2005, 04:14 GMT
Fugitive Chile cult leader held
By Clinton Porteous
BBC correspondent in Santiago

Paul Schaefer
Paul Schaefer was the supreme ruler of the closed community
A former Nazi who is wanted in Chile on child sex abuse charges has been arrested in Argentina.

A joint operation between Argentine and Chilean police led to the detention of Paul Schaefer, who has been an international fugitive for eight years.

Schaefer, who is in his 80s, is wanted in Chile over the abuse of children in a closed community that he joined in 1961 after arriving from Germany.

The Colonia Dignidad community was cut off from the outside world.

The Chilean government has praised the Argentine police for the arrest of Paul Schaefer and has said he should face a Chilean court as soon as possible.

Barbed wire fences

He faces charges in Chile of sexually abusing 26 minors.

A government spokesman said he is also wanted in connection with the disappearance of one person.

For years Colonia Dignidad was a mysterious community that was cut off from the outside world by barbed wire fences.

But in recent years former residents have testified of sexual abuse, the use of drugs and the separation of families.

Torture centre

German was the dominant language and Paul Schaefer was the supreme ruler.

Paul Schaefer is believed to be more than 80 years old and when he was arrested he had no personal legal documents.

The Chilean government says it is waiting for the Argentine government to decide whether to expel him or whether he will need to be formally extradited back to Chile.

Colonia Dignidad still exists and has about 280 residents.

The community used to have close links with the military government of General Augusto Pinochet and there are accusations it was used as a torture centre for political prisoners.

How a mysterious community housed a former Nazi

Chilean police raid German enclave
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