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Chile charges eight people in Victor Jara killing

A Chilean judge has ordered the arrest of eight ex-army lieutenants in connection with the 1973 murder of folk singer and leftist icon Victor Jara. Two were charged with murder, while six were said to be accomplices.

Judge Miguel Vazquez Plaza issued eight arrest warrants against former soldiers at a court in the Chilean capital, Santiago, on Friday.

Almost four decades after the death of pacifist folk singer Jara, the country's courts are seeking to bring the culprits to justice.

"After bringing together many elements, there comes a time when one must end the investigation and try to move toward a resolution," Judge Plaza told reporters.

Chilean justice officials said in a statement that two men were charged with murder and the other six were thought to be accomplices. One suspect, Pedro Barrientos Nunez, lives in the US; an international arrest warrant has been issued.

Tortured, then shot

Jara was arrested shortly after the September 11, 1973 coup that installed General Augusto Pinochet as Chilean dictator, ousting the democratically-elected socialist president, Salvador Allende.

The pacifist folk singer and guitarist was interrogated and tortured in Santiago's biggest stadium, along with around 5,000 other political prisoners. He was found dead on September 16, with 44 machine gun bullet wounds and other injuries. Jara was 40 years old at the time of his death.

Investigators exhumed Jara's body as part of fresh investigations in 2009, following a confession of murder by a former soldier who subsequently retracted his statement. Thousands of people attended an official, second funeral for Jara in December 2009. His original burial was conducted in almost total anonymity by his wife in 1973.

msh/rc (AFP, AP)