Chile: Victor Jara's family sue officer for killing the folk singer

Issue 

The wife and two daughters of folk singer and 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, Morning Star.

The civil lawsuit, filed on September 4 in Jacksonville, Florida, is a bid by 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 Barrientos tortured and executed Jara in a sports stadium 40 years ago. Witnesses said 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.

Jara was among thousands of 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.

More than 3,000 people were kidnapped and killed during Pinochet's Western-backed 1973-1990 rule.