Santiago – A Sydney court has approved the extradition of Adriana Rivas, the former secretary of Manuel Contreras. Rivas has argued that she can’t expect a fair trial in Chile. She faces charges of human rights abuses related to her membership of notorious domestic intelligence agency DINA, which drove a state terror campaign during the dictatorship.
A judge has ruled that Adriana Rivas, the former secretary of Augusto Pinochet’s long-time confidant Manuel Contreras, will be extradited to Chile. After postponing the ruling in September, a Sydney court dismissed Rivas’ defense on Thursday.
The 67-year-old appeared in court via video link and, EFE news agency reported, claimed that she “will be tried in Chile for her political opinions.” She has lived in Australia for over three decades, working as a house cleaner. In 2006 she traveled to Chile and was arrested but escaped while on provisional release.
Chile’s Supreme Court issued an extradition request in 2014. Rivas was arrested in Australia in February 2019.
She will face charges of having been a member of Lautaro Brigade, a special force of domestic intelligence agency DINA, which tortured and forcibly disappeared opposition members. She is accused of involvement in the 1976 kidnapping of Communist Party undersecretary Víctor Díaz and several of his comrades, one being pregnant.
Delayed Return to Chile
Rivas can still appeal the extradition. In this case, the legal battle could drag on for years and reach Australia’s highest court.
However, Chilean lawyer Adriana Navarro, who is leading human rights organizations and Australian Chileans’ efforts to get Rivas extradited, was quoted by EFE as saying that “Rivas is currently arrested under pending extradition, which is not the same as before, because she was only in preventive detention.”
Rivas entered the DINA in 1973. Her former boss died five years ago while serving a 400-year sentence.