Australia

Sydney woman Adriana Rivas arrested over Pinochet-era kidnapping in Chile

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Australian authorities have arrested Adriana Rivas, wanted in Chile over kidnapping offences allegedly committed while she was serving under military dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Australian authorities have arrested a Sydney woman wanted in Chile over kidnapping offences alleged to have been committed during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

Adriana Rivas was arrested on Tuesday and briefly appeared in Sydney's Central Local Court via a video link.

Bail was not applied for and formally refused. On Wednesday Rivas' case was adjourned until Friday, March 1.

She was arrested "pursuant to a request from the Republic of Chile for her extradition", a spokesperson for Attorney-General Christian Porter said in a statement.

"This individual is wanted to face prosecution in the Republic of Chile for aggravated kidnapping offences."

Adriana Rivas speaks with SBS News in 2014.
Adriana Rivas speaks with SBS News in 2014.
SBS News

The Chilean intelligence agent, who worked as a nanny and cleaner in Australia since she arrived in 1978, was detained in Chile in 2006 while on a visit.

But she returned to Australia while on bail.

In 2013 she told SBS Spanish she was innocent of the charges, but defended the use of torture in Chile at the time as necessary.

“They had to break the people – it has happened all over the world, not only in Chile," she said.

News of her arrest was received with "relief and satisfaction" by relatives of some of the victims, according to the lawyer representing them, Adriana Navarro. 

"We congratulate each other for this fact, but we also feel sadness for families, children and grandchildren and for people who have lost their loved ones because they were killed by the armed forces and Chilean security," Ms Navarro told SBS Spanish. 

Representatives of relatives and human rights activists in Australia have provided information to authorities in Chile in a process that has been ongoing for five years, Ms Navarro said.

Ms Rivas was part of the feared National Intelligence Directorate (DINA).
Ms Rivas was part of the feared National Intelligence Directorate (DINA).
SBS

"The truth is that this is the longest extradition we know of, I believe that there have been technical issues between the Chilean and Australian judicial systems since, for example, the charges had to be approved and it was also more difficult because official translations had to be done," Ms Navarro said. 

"The truth is a question that is opened because it is not known if Adriana Rivas will give her consent to be extradited to Chile or will use all the review mechanisms opened by the extradition law," Ms Navarro said. 

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