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Last Updated: Friday, 10 December, 2004, 00:34 GMT
Colonel charged over Jara killing
Victor Jara
Victor Jara wrote songs until he was led away to his death
A retired Chilean army colonel has been accused of ordering the execution of a singer and playwright at the start of Augusto Pinochet's military rule.

Col Mario Manriquez was indicted by a judge investigating the killing of Victor Jara in September 1973.

Mr Jara, a popular artist and a member of the Chilean Communist Party, was beaten and shot by soldiers allegedly under Col Manriquez's command.

Col Manriquez was held at army barracks but is likely to appeal the decision.

"Today is a happy day for Chile's culture," said Nelson Caucoto, a lawyer for Mr Jara's British wife, Joan Turner.

He said the arrest was significant because the army had released information to the courts, raising hopes for the resolution of cases dating back to Gen Pinochet's rule between 1973 and 1990.

Beaten and shot

Mr Jara, who was 38, was tortured and killed on 11 September 1973 at a stadium being used as a detention camp by the Chilean military.

Victor Jara
Silence and screams are the end of my song
Victor Jara's
unfinished song
He was one of the founding fathers of Chile's New Song movement and a supporter of President Salvador Allende, who was overthrown in the coup.

Following his arrest, one day after Mr Allende was overthrown, Mr Jara was taken to the Chile Stadium in the capital, Santiago.

Once there, soldiers beat him with their rifles and broke and burned his hands so that he was unable to play his guitar.

He was then machine-gunned him to death.

Judge Juan Urrutia, investigating Mr Jara's killing, had previously interviewed a number of senior military figures in an effort to determine who was in command at the stadium on that day.

An official report issued after the restoration of democracy in Chile in 1990 found that 3,197 people died or disappeared during military rule.

Pinochet to testify in Jara case
25 Aug 04 |  Americas
'They couldn't kill his songs'
06 Sep 98 |  Americas
Testimony: Detainee remembers Chile 1973
23 Oct 98 |  The Pinochet file
Profile: Augusto Pinochet
28 May 04 |  Americas
Timeline: Chile
25 May 04 |  Country profiles

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