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Military officers charged in Victor Jara murder

July 23, 2015

A Chilean judge has charged ten former military officers with the killing of folk singer and political activist Victor Jara. The popular singer was killed days after dictator Augusto Pinochet came to power in 1973.

Victor Jara Chile Musiker
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo

Chile's Judge Miguel Vazquez formally charged ten retired military officers for the kidnapping and murder of popular Chilean folk singer Victor Jara and former military police chief Littre Quiroga Carvajal.

Jara was widely known across Latin America for his politically-engaged music. He was also a member of the Communist Party.

However, days after the September 11, 1973 coup that brought General August Pinotchet to power, he was kidnapped and taken to Santiago's Estadio Chile, an indoor stadium converted into a detention and torture center.

Jara was tortured before being shot 44 times, according to court documents. Former military police chief Carvajal was also shot 23 times.

The bodies of both Jara and Carvajal were later found by local residents in a vacant lot near the capital city's Metropolitan Cemetery.

More than 40,000 people were either killed, tortured or imprisoned for political engagements after the coup. The Chilean governments estimates that more than 3,000 were killed, including around 1,200 who were forcibly disappeared following the coup.

Jara was also a theater director and teacher. The folk singer's final poem "Estadio Chile" - named after the stadium turned detention center - adorns Santiago's Museum of Memory and Human Rights, dedicated to the victims of human rights violations during Pinochet's rule.

ls/rc (AP, EFE, epd)