On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the military coup, the Chilean Court sentenced seven retired military officers for the kidnapping and murder of singer Victor Jara, in 1973. The sentence established by the Chilean Supreme Court was 25 years in prison.
One of the soldiers, Hernán Chacón Soto, committed suicide when the Human Rights Brigade of the Chilean Investigative Police went to pick him up at home so he could serve his sentence at the Punta Pueco penitentiary, a prison where criminals from Chile’s military dictatorship are being held.
One of the biggest names in music in South America, Chilean Victor Jara was kidnapped by the military on September 12, 1973, one day after the coup carried out by General Augusto Pinochet.
The court’s decision was unanimous and, according to the magistrates, “the facts described are real, since they occurred in a certain place and time and are proven, legally accredited through the means of evidence.”
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In addition to Chacón Soto, Raúl Jofré González, Edwin Dimter Bianchi, Nelson Haase Mazzei, Ernesto Bethke Wulf and Juan Jara Quintana complete the group condemned by Chilean justice. They had their sentences divided into two crimes: 15 years for Jara’s murder and another ten years for the singer’s kidnapping.
The decision was celebrated by Luis Cordero, Chile’s Minister of Justice. One of the soldiers convicted of killing Victor Jara committed suicide. “Judicial sentences have a restorative role when they not only convict the culprits, but also tell the stories of the victims.”
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Victor Jara and the Chilean dictatorship
After being kidnapped, Victor was taken, along with thousands of other Chileans, to the Chile Stadium, tortured and murdered a few days later. Currently the stadium is named after him.
In 2009, there was a new burial of Víctor Jara’s body, giving Chileans the right to a dignified farewell, since the burial carried out in 1973 had been carried out under a climate of state terrorism. Nine former army personnel were convicted of his kidnapping and murder in 2018.
The Chilean Human Rights Commission estimates that 3,200 citizens died at the hands of State agents, of which 1,192 remain missing. Around 33,000 people were tortured and imprisoned for political reasons, in addition to around 200,000 people having to go into exile during Augusto Pinochet’s repressive regime.
Editing: Vivian Virissimo