30 Dec 2012

Chile seeks arrests in singer's 1973 death

9:56 am on 30 December 2012

A judge in Chile has ordered the arrest of eight former army officers over the murder of left-wing singer Victor Jara, who was brutally killed days after the 1973 coup led by General Augusto Pinochet.

The BBC reports the folk singer and political activist was arrested hours after the coup and taken to a stadium in Santiago, where he was tortured and killed.

His body was found days later in the streets of the Chilean capital with 44 bullet wounds.

Victor Jara, who was also a member of the Chilean Communist Party, was one of the best-known victims of General Pinochet's right-wing coup.

In the 1960s he wrote protest songs against the ruling elite of his country.

In June 2009, Victor Jara's body was exhumed as part of an investigation to clarify the circumstances of his death.

Six months later, thousands people paid their final respects to the singer, who was reburied after a three-day wake.

An international arrest order has been issued for one of the alleged leaders of the death squad, lieutenant Pedro Barrientos Nunez, who lives abroad. He has previously denied any involvement in Victor Jara's death.

Judge Miguel Vasquez accused Mr Barrientos and another retired army officer, colonel Hugo Sanchez Marmonti, of homicide.

The other six men were accused of complicity to commit murder.

More than 3000 people were killed or went missing during military rule in Chile, from 1973 to 1990.