Former Chilean general officer Hernán Chacón, who was handed a 25-year sentence Monday for his role in the kidnapping and murder of famous singer-songwriter Victor Jara, was found dead in his home by police who had arrived to take him into custody. Chacón, who was 87, committed suicide.
“The military [officer] Hernán Chacón, who was convicted for the murder of Víctor Jara, committed suicide before he could be taken to prison,” a spokesperson for the Chilean Investigative Police told ADN radio station.
Chacón and five other former Chilean military officers had each been handed a 15-year-sentence for the killings of Jara and former Head of Prisons, Littré Quiroga Carvajal, as well as another 10-year sentence for the two kidnappings. A seventh defendant was sentenced to 8 years in prison for concealment. Up until the conviction, all the defendants were free.
According to the sentence, Chacón was part of the operation that detained and took close to 5,000 prisoners to the National Stadium following the September 11, 1973 coup that led to Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. Chacón was part of the leadership that decided which prisoners should be questioned.
A Communist Party militant, Jara was also a theater director, professor, and writer. He was kidnapped, tortured and shot 44 times at the Universidad Técnica del Estado — a state university where he taught a class at the time — shortly after the coup.
Littré Quiroga Carvajal, the second victim, was detained on September 11, 1973, after he voluntarily presented himself at the Armed Regiment #2. Two days later, he was transferred to the National Stadium. He was 33 years old, and his body was discovered near the Metropolitan Cemetery together with four other people, including Jara.
During the Pinochet dictatorship, more than 28,000 people were tortured, 3,227 were murdered, and some 200,000 were forced into exile, according to official numbers.