Latin America & Caribbean

Chile: Ex-army officers implicated in Victor Jara death

Victor Jara, archive photo
Image caption Victor Jara was one of the best known victims of Chilean military rule

A judge in Chile has ordered the arrest of eight former army officers over the murder 39 years ago of well-known left-wing singer Victor Jara.

He was brutally killed only days after the coup that brought Gen Pinochet to power, on 11 September 1973.

The folk singer was arrested and taken to a stadium in Santiago where he was tortured and killed.

His body was found later in the streets of the Chilean capital with 44 bullet wounds.

An international arrest order has been issued for one of the alleged leaders of the death squad, lieutenant Pedro Barrientos Nunez, who lives abroad. He has previously denied any involvement in Victor Jara's death.

Judge Miguel Vasquez accused Mr Barrientos and another retired army officer, colonel Hugo Sanchez Marmonti, of homicide.

The other six men were accused of complicity to commit murder.

Broken hands

Victor Jara, who was also a member of the Chilean Communist Party, was one of the best-known victims of Gen Augusto Pinochet's right-wing coup.

In the 1960s he wrote protest songs against the ruling elite of his country.

He was one of the founding fathers of Chile's 'New Song' movement which in 1970 helped elect the democratic popular unity government of Salvador Allende.

The 38-year-old singer-songwriter was abducted on 11 September from a university in Santiago.

He was taken to a sports stadium in the capital - Estadio de Chile - which had been turned into a makeshift prison and torture centre.

On 16 September, after being tortured, electrocuted and having his wrists and the bones of his hands broken, he was machine-gunned to death.

In June 2009, his body was exhumed as part of an investigation to clarify the circumstances of his death.

Six months later, thousands people paid their final respects to the singer, who was reburied after a three-day wake.

More than 3,000 people were killed or went missing during military rule in Chile, from 1973 to 1990.

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