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Chilean junta officer sued over 1973 Victor Jara killing

Family of socialist musician seek justice 40 years on

The wife and two daughters of 1973 coup victim Victor Jara have filed a lawsuit in a US federal court against a former Chilean army officer who they say killed him.

The civil lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in Jacksonville, Florida, is an attempt by Mr Jara’s family to bring Pedro Barrientos, now a US citizen, to justice under laws that allow US courts to hear allegations of human rights violations committed overseas.

The lawsuit alleges that Mr Barrientos tortured and executed Mr Jara in a sports stadium 40 years ago.

Witnesses said Mr Jara was tortured for several days — including his hands being battered with the butt of a revolver — before he was shot dead.

His bullet-riddled body was found dumped near a cemetery three days later.

Mr Jara was among thousands of political supporters of president Salvador Allende rounded up by the military as Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet moved to tighten his grip on power after ousting the Allende government in a violent 1973 coup. His death became a symbol of human rights abuses under Pinochet.

Prosecutors in Chile charged Mr Barrientos and another officer last year over the killing of Mr Jara and named six others as accomplices. Four former military officials were detained in connection with the case.

More than 3,000 people were kidnapped and killed duringWestern-backed  General Pinochet’s 1973-1990 rule.

Another 28,000 people are believed to have been tortured.


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