Retired Chilean officer charged in Victor Jara’s death

Retired Chilean officer charged in singer Victor Jara’s death

The Associated Press

Friday, May 16th 2008, 4:00 AM

SANTIAGO, Chile — A retired army colonel has been charged in the killing of renowned Chilean folk singer Victor Jara following the 1973 coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

Judge Juan Fuentes said Thursday he ended his investigation into the case and charged only retired Col. Mario Manriquez in the case, saying he was “responsible” for the death.

Jara was among the best-known members of Latin America’s “New Song” folk movement of the 1960s and 1970s and was also a Communist Party political activist who backed Chile’s elected socialist president, Salvador Allende.

Jara was arrested after the Sept. 11, 1973, military coup that overthrew Allende and he was taken to a soccer stadium used as a detention camp.

Court papers indicate Jara was tortured – his hands smashed with rifle butts – and then was shot to death.

The death turned him into an international symbol of resistance to the Pinochet government.

Fuentes had taken over the investagion in 2005 from another judge, who initially announced plans to charge Manriquez.

A lawyer for the Jara family, Nelson Caucoto, said he will appeal the decision to close the probe with no other people charged.


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