| 25 February 2024, Sunday |

Australian Court orders Chilean woman’s extradition over Pinochet-era charges

An Australian Court rejected a Chilean woman’s legal appeal on Thursday, ruling that she must be extradited to face the allegations of kidnapping seven people under Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship.

Adriana Rivas, who is in her late 60s, has been held in detention since her arrest by New South Wales state police in 2019 in response to a request for her extradition from a South American country. According to local media sources, she left Chile in 1978 and worked as a cleaner in Sydney before being arrested.

She is charged with involvement in the disappearance of seven people by working as an agent of a secret police force known as Dirección Nacional de Inteligencia (DINA). She denies the charges.

According to a judgement by Federal Court Judge Wendy Abraham, she challenged a magistrate’s prior extradition order on technical grounds, including the legitimacy of documentation purporting to establish she was a DINA agent or was personally involved in unlawful arrests.

The appeal was based on “an assertion that the magistrate ‘engaged in a rubber stamping exercise and nothing more’ (but) there is no substance to that submission,” Abraham wrote in her judgment, published on Thursday. “It is not borne out.”

Rivas’ appeal revealed a “misunderstanding” of international extradition procedures, according to the judge, including an inaccurate allegation that extradition would be a “breach of the concept of legality.”

Rivas was ordered to pay Chilean court fees and surrender by the Court.

During Pinochet’s military administration, from 1973 to 1990, more than 3,000 persons were killed or disappeared as a result of political violence. Truth commissions and police investigations have revealed that the secret service and the army tortured and exiled thousands of dissidents and communists.

  • Reuters