CJA has an exciting update in our case against former Pinochet Lieutenant
Pedro Pablo Barrientos Nuñez, who is accused of torturing and killing
Chilean folksinger and activist Víctor Jara. On February 17, we filed a statement
not opposing Barrientos’s motion to remove a default judgment against him. The
default judgment was secured by CJA and Chadbourne & Parke LLP in November
2014, when a U.S. court had found Barrientos liable for torture, extrajudicial
killing and crimes against humanity after Barrientos failed to appear before
Seventeen months after initially being
served, Barrientos belatedly came to the court and asked for the default
judgment to be lifted, offering no credible or legal justification for his
failure to defend this action. However, Mr.
Jara’s family welcomed Barrientos’s motion, which, if granted, would allow the
case to proceed to a full trial and bring to light the events that transpired
surrounding their loved one’s death.
The brief filed by CJA and Chadbourne & Parke LLP demonstrates that
Barrientos’s claim that he was unaware of or did not understand the suit filed
against him is not credible. Just days
after the suit was filed, Barrientos transferred the deed to his home to the
“Barrientos Family Trust,” in an apparent attempt to protect his assets. The
brief also demonstrates that Barrientos appears to have deliberately gone into
hiding; a private investigator uncovered evidence that Barrientos only came by his
house infrequently. And, less than three weeks after the suit was filed,
Barrientos filed a permanent forwarding address change with the post office.
CJA was set to present evidence against
Barrientos at a damages trial scheduled for February 23, but with this recent
development, we are now preparing for a fully contested case, which will allow
us to present a wider range of evidence against Barrientos and should give us the
opportunity to question Barrientos directly.
CJA and Chadbourne & Parke, LLP filed a
civil suit against Barrientos on September 4, 2013. The complaint alleges that
Barrientos, who currently lives in Deltona, FL, personally tortured and
executed Mr. Jara during the mass detention of thousands of intellectuals,
political leaders and perceived political supporters of the Allende government
at Chile Stadium immediately after General Augusto Pinochet’s coup in 1973.
With this case, we hope to shed light on what
happened at Chile Stadium in the first days of the coup, as these events have
remained shrouded in mystery for over 40 years. CJA’s case, along with the work
of Chilean prosecutors who have indicted Barrientos, will finally provide
judicial acknowledgement to the victims of Chile Stadium.