NATIONAL NEWS

US expels an ex-Chilean army officer accused of a folk singer’s torture and murder

Dec 1, 2023, 4:06 PM

MIAMI (AP) — The U.S. has expelled a former Chilean Army officer accused of torturing and killing folk singer Victor Jara during the country’s bloody 1973 coup.

Pedro Barrientos had emigrated to Florida in 1990, the same year the bloody dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet came to an end.

This year, he was stripped of his U.S. citizenship after it was found he concealed information about his Chilean military service during his immigration proceedings.

Jara, a popular singer and university professor, was a fervent supporter of socialist President Salvador Allende. He was seized and taken to a Santiago stadium where thousands of prisoners were held only hours after Pinochet assaulted the presidential palace and overthrew Allende on Sept. 11, 1973. There, he was beaten and he was shot with at least 44 bullets — one of the first of more than 3,000 Chileans killed for opposing Pinochet’s iron-fisted rule.

Barrientos has always denied any involvement in Jara’s murder

But in 2016, a federal jury in Florida found him liable for the torture and killing of Jara in a civil lawsuit brought by Jara’s widow, the British dancer Joan Turner Jara.

Homeland Security Investigations said that Barrientos was removed Thursday on a flight from Miami and taken into custody by Chilean law enforcement officials upon his arrival in the South American country.

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