8 charged with singer's '73 murder in Chile

Judge orders arrest of ex-army officers

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SANTIAGO, Chile -- Eight retired army officers were charged Friday with the murder of a popular songwriter and theater director, Victor Jara, who was tortured and killed days after the 1973 military coup.

Judge Miguel Vasquez charged two of the former officers, Pedro Barrientos and Hugo Sanchez, with committing the murder and six others as accomplices. Mr. Sanchez, then a lieutenant colonel, was second in command at the stadium. Mr. Barrientos, a lieutenant from a Tejas Verdes army unit, lives in Deltona, Fla., and was interrogated by the FBI this year at the request of a Chilean court. Attempts to reach Mr. Barrientos for comment were unsuccessful.

Those charged as accomplices are Roberto Souper, Raul Jofre, Edwin Dimter, Nelson Hasse, Luis Bethke and Jorge Smith.

Victor Jara, then 40, was a leading folk singer in the late 1960s and early '70s and a Communist Party member. A day after the U.S.-supported, Sept. 11 coup that ousted socialist President Salvador Allende, Jara was arrested by the military at the Santiago Technical University, where he was a professor and researcher, along with hundreds of students, teachers and staff members.

Judge Vasquez established that Jara was recognized by military officers and separated from the rest of the detainees. He was interrogated, beaten and tortured by several officers, according to the court. He was killed on Sept. 16, 1973.

According to the autopsy report, he had been beaten badly and shot 44 times.

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