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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 January 2006, 12:02 GMT
Mass grave found in Chile enclave
Paul Schaefer
Commune leader Paul Schaefer is awaiting trial
A Chilean judge is investigating the discovery of an unmarked grave in a German enclave in the south of Chile.

Rights groups say the colony's leaders helped with the repression of left-wing activists during military rule.

It is thought dozens of bodies were buried at the enclave formerly known as Colonia Dignidad, but later moved.

Last year, the state took control of the enclave. Its former head, Paul Schaefer, is in jail charged with child abuse and human rights violations.

'Bodies exhumed'

Judge Jorge Zepeda is expected to inspect the unmarked grave on Tuesday.

Residents of Colonia Dignidad
Many commune residents are said to have been there against their will
Experts working at the site say that while they have not found any human remains, they are certain that bodies were buried there and later exhumed, Chilean media reports.

It is believed that in 1978 the bodies were exhumed, cremated and the remains thrown into a river.

Investigators have said there could be more unmarked graves in the enclave, where it is believed about 100 left-wing activists were killed.

Paul Schaefer, a former Nazi and Baptist preacher, established the 13,000-hectare (32,000-acre) colony in southern Chile in 1961, after fleeing Germany to escape child abuse charges.

Most of the commune's residents are believed to have been held there against their will.

A Chilean congressional report has said that Colonia Dignidad operated as a "state within a state" during General Augusto Pinochet's regime, thanks to Mr Schaefer's close ties to the country's ruling elite.

German charged over 'Chile abuse'
29 Dec 05 |  Americas
Chile officials take over colony
27 Aug 05 |  Americas
Chilean police raid German enclave
12 Oct 00 |  Americas
Country profile: Chile
26 Mar 05 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Chile
24 May 05 |  Country profiles

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