Victor Jara Case: Ex-Soldiers Convicted of Killing Chilean Singer

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Eight retired soldiers have been sentenced to 18 years in prison for one the most emblematic murders Chile’s military dictatorship: the murder folk singer Victor Jara and a government ficial.

The fice the court system announced the ruling on Tuesday, and it said a ninth veteran was sentenced to five years for cover-up.

Jara, a popular singer and university pressor, was a fervent supporter Marxist President Salvador Allende and he was seized only hours after Gen. Augusto Pinochet assaulted the presidential palace and overthrew Allende on Sept. 11, 1973.

Jara was taken to a stadium, where thousands prisoners were being held. His hands and head were beaten and he was shot with at least 44 bullets as a warning to those who challenged Pinochet’s authority.

Allende’s prisons chief Littre Quiroga also was tortured and killed at the stadium, apparently because alleged mistreatment an ficer who had earlier attempted a coup.

Jara and Quiroga were among the earliest more than 3,000 suspected leftists slain during the 1973-90 dictatorship Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

The bodies the two men were dumped on a dusty street near the Metropolitan Cemetery and taken to the morgue, where someone recognized Jara and secretly informed his wife, the British dancer Joan Turner Jara.

The family managed to have his body exhumed for an autopsy in 2009.

Judge Miguel Vasquez imposed the sentences on Hugo Sanchez Marmonti, Raul Jre Gonzalez, Edwin Dimter Bianchi, Nelson Haase Mazzei, Ernesto Bethke Wulf, Juan Jara Quintana, Hernan Chacon Soto and Patricio Vásquez Donoso to 15 years for the killings and three more for kidnapping them.

Rolando Melo Silva was sentenced to five years. The sentences can be appealed.

Chilean ficials are seeking the extradition a tenth former soldier, retired Lt. Pedro Barrientos, who emigrated to Florida and in 2016 lost a civil damages suit filed on behalf Jara’s family. He has denied any role in the deaths.

The stadium where Jara was killed has since been renamed in his honor.