Nine ex-military convicted for 1973 murder of Chile folk singer Víctor Jara
Jara, 40, was arrested the day after the September 11, 1973, CIA-backed coup that overthrew Salvador Allende and installed Augusto Pinochet as dictator. Jara's body was found days later, riddled with 44 bullets.
A Chilean judge has convicted nine retired soldiers in the 1973 murder of one of Chile's most beloved folk singers, Víctor Jara, the judiciary said on Tuesday.
Jara, 40, was arrested the day after the September 11, 1973 CIA-backed coup that overthrew Salvador Allende and installed Augusto Pinochet as dictator.
The musician's body was found days later, riddled with 44 bullets. He had been held, along with around 5,000 other political prisoners, in a sports stadium where he was interrogated, tortured and then killed. Among other horrors, the singer-guitarist's fingers were crushed, broken by rifle butts and boots.
The slaying of Jara is considered to be one of the most emblematic murders carried out under Chile's military dictatorship.
"Judge Miguel Vázquez Plaza convicted nine retired members of the army for their responsibility in the homicide of singer Víctor Jara and the ex-director of prisons Littré Quiroga Carvajal, in September 1973 in Santiago," a statement from the Judiciary said.
Eight of the accused – who held ranks from lieutenant to colonel and brigadier – were sentenced to 15 years and one day in prison for their roles as "perpetrators" of both murders. They all received another three years for kidnapping the two victims. A ninth officer received five years and a day for being an accessory to the murders, and 61 days for his role as an accessory to the kidnappings.
The pacifist singer, whose lyrics spoke of love and social protest, became an icon of regional popular music with songs like "The Right to Live in Peace," "The Cigarette" and "I remember Amanda."
The singer's fellow detainee, Littré Quiroga, 33, was national prisons director and a Communist Party militant. His body was found with signs of torture along with that of Jara and three other political prisoners, in a vacant lot near Santiago's Metropolitan Cemetery.
In Chile, Jara became an icon for hundreds of artists who suffered human rights violations under Pinochet.
Abroad, the singer inspired musicians from U2 to Bob Dylan. At a 2013 concert in Santiago, Bruce Springsteen paid tribute to Jara.