Latin America & Caribbean

Victor Jara killing: Chile ex-army officer faces US trial

Prominent Chilean folk singer Victor Jara Image copyright AP
Image caption Jara was a prominant leftist voice in the early 1970s in the period leading up to the military coup in Chile

A US judge has ordered a former Chilean army officer to stand trial in Florida in connection with the killing of folk singer Victor Jara in 1973.

Pedro Barrientos, who has US citizenship and lives in Florida, will answer charges of torture and extrajudicial killing.

Jara was one of thousands of people rounded up at a stadium in the capital Santiago after the coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power.

He was tortured and shot dead.

The law suit against Mr Barrientos was brought by Jara's widow Joan and his daughter Amanda.

"We are... pleased that the Jara family is one step closer to having their day in court," said Almudena Bernabeu, a lawyer representing the family.

But Ms Bernabeu said it was "disappointing" the US judge dismissed a bid by the family to have Mr Barrientos prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

Jara was a well-known figure in Chile during the 60s and 70s. He wrote protest songs about Chile's ruling elite and was a supporter of President Salvador Allende, who died during the military uprising.

The singer's body was exhumed in 2009 and later reburied, with thousands of Chileans paying their respects.

Several other former army officers have faced trial over his killing in Chile.

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