On June 25, 2021, an Australian federal court judge ruled that a Chilean woman living in Sydney must face extradition for her alleged involvement in kidnappings during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship.
Adriana Rivas is wanted for seven counts of aggravated kidnapping. These charges stem from her alleged role as an agent for Pinochet, a Chilean dictator, in the 1970s. Chilean authorities claim that Rivas was involved in the disappearance of Victor Diaz, the secretary-general of Chile’s communist party, along with six of his supporters.
While Rivas denied involvement in any kidnappings, she did admit in a 2013 interview with Australian broadcasters that she was a part of the National Intelligence Directorate or Dina, a secret police force that used extreme violence to silence political opponents.
Chilean authorities claim that Rivas was the assistant to Manual Contreras, the head of Dina. The Directorate was a secret organization that plotted and carried out violent attacks towards dissidents in the 1970s.
The violent attacks left as many as 3,000 people dead or disappeared. And some 40,000 others were held captive in prison or faced torture at the hands of the government.
Throughout the violent campaign attacks, Rivas allegedly carried out those seven kidnappings. The campaign corresponded with Pinochet’s dictatorship, which was from 1973 to 1990.
The Chilean government now claims that Rivas played a significant role in facilitating these violent attacks; however, her Rivas lawyers argue that she was not involved in the attacks and merely had menial tasks.
However, contrary to Rivas’ claims, BBC reports that in she was in an SBS Australian broadcast interview where she admitted that her years in the Dina were “the best of my life.” In the broadcast interview, she told SBS that she lived a luxurious life as she was provided with clothing allowance, stayed in upscale hotels, and traveled in expensive cars.
As for her alleged involvement in torture, she said in the interview that “they had to break the people – it happened all over the world, not only in Chile.”
In October 2020, Rivas contested the extradition request, and a Sydney magistrate ruled that she was eligible for extradition. In June 2021, Judge Abraham agreed with the magistrate and said that there was no proof that the lower court “engaged rubber-stamping exercise” concerning her extradition. Judge Abraham also only considered the extradition issue rather than her guilt or innocence.
If convicted, Rivas could face up to five life sentences plus 20 years for the remaining two counts.
Rivas can still appeal that decision before the Federal Circuit Court judges.