Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bail granted to four former officials indicted for the murder of Victor Jara

Following the initial euphoria at Chilean efforts to bring Victor Jara's alleged killers to justice, the Santiago Court of Appeals has granted bail to four of the former DINA officials indicted for the nueva cancion singer's murder. Edwin Dimter Bianchi, Nelson Haase, Luis Bethke Wulf and Raul Jofre Gonzalez, all from the Tejas Verdes contingent under the command of Manuel Contreras have been granted bail against a guarantee of one million pesos each and will be released from jail within a few hours.

A Chilean court request to extradite Pedro Pablo Barrientos Nunez, identified by former conscript Jose Paredes Marquez as the one who killed Victor, has not yielded any positive results so far. Barrientos has been living in Florida ever since Paredes was arrested for his role in the murder and has denied the accusations against him, stating that he was never in the vicinities of Estadio Chile. Paredes, however, has declared that his access to the interrogation rooms during the first days of the dictatorship was facilitated through accompanying Barrientos as his bodyguard. 

The foundation 'Justicia Para Victor Jara' (Justice for Victor Jara) has issued a statement, declaring the sentence as an incentive for further struggle in order to achieve justice for Victor and all the victims of the dictatorship. Previous statements by the foundation and human rights lawyer Nelson Caucoto Pereira have attacked the impunity enshrined in dictatorship laws, as well as the refusal of the Armed Forces of Chile to reveal information which would lead to the conviction of senior DINA officials.

While the provisional release has been defined as standard practice and even expected by Caucoto, public opinion expressed on social media has been replete with outrage at the news, declaring all soldiers serving under the dictatorship as tainted with complicity and expressing little faith in the Chilean justice system.