A 69-year-old Chilean woman who was wanted for kidnapping during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in the 1970s is facing extradition from Australia after a court closed her final appeal option.
Adriana Rivas appealed to Australia’s highest court after three judges at the Federal Court in November unanimously rejected her appeal against extradition to her homeland.
However, Australia’s High Court – which is the equivalent of the Supreme Court in the US – issued a ruling on Monday stating that his appeal was rejected due to procedural failures on the part of his lawyers.
Rivas has been fighting extradition for three years over allegations that he kidnapped seven people in 1976 and 1977, including Communist Party leader Victor Diaz and a member of that party, Reinalda Pereira, who was five months pregnant.
Rivas was an assistant to Manuel Contreras, head of the Chilean secret police service (DINA) during the Pinochet dictatorship. Rivas denied having met all of the victims, whose bodies have not been found to date.
The end of court proceedings paved the way for Australia’s attorney general to agree to extradition.
But given that the Australian government is currently in the midst of an election, an extradition decision is likely to be made by whoever becomes attorney general after the May 21 election.
The office of Michaelia Cash, the current attorney general, said in a statement Tuesday that it was inappropriate for her to comment on the Rivas case because “this process has not been finalized.”
The Attorney General must allow reasonable time to consider any arguments against extradition.
Rivas’ team of lawyers said that Rivas was not a DINA agent and his job was mediocre. Duties included collecting laundry, making coffee, and translating, they said.
They also said that those suspected of being victims were detained after arrests, not kidnappings, and that the acts were carried out by the state, not by individuals.
Rivas moved to Australia in 1978 and was detained in Chile during a family visit in 2006. He was released after several months of probation and fled to Australia in 2009.
She had lived in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, working as a part-time nanny and cleaner until her arrest in February 2019 on an extradition order from the Chilean Supreme Court. He will be the first person ever to be extradited from Australia to Chile. [ab/uh]