Crime & Justice

Chileans in Australia celebrate extradition ruling against ex-Pinochet agent

Sydney, Australia, Nov 24 (EFE).- Chileans in Australia Wednesday welcomed a Sydney court decision to reject an appeal against the extradition of Adriana Rivas, an ex-secret police agent during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

Those who celebrated the court decision included activists and relatives of seven people allegedly kidnapped by Rivas, wanted in her country on charges of kidnapping.

“We demand that, once she arrives in Chile, (and) given her past record, Rivas remains in detention during the trial, which we hope will end with an exemplary verdict,” the families of the victims said in a statement issued by their lawyer, Adriana Navarro, outside the Federal Court in Sydney.

The reaction, which was met by applause and cheers by a group of Chilean activists who carried the photographs of the victims, came after the Federal Court of Australia rejected her appeal and ruled that she was extraditable for the seven charges of aggravated kidnapping she faces in Chile.

“I am very happy (…) we have waited a long time for this good news,” Juana Mendoza told EFE outside the court.

María Oróstegui, a Mapuche woman detained and tortured when she was 17, hoped Rivas would be extradited and “locked up” in a secure jail.

The ruling, delivered in a virtual session, could be the last step in the long battle for the extradition process, given that she can now only take her appeal to the High Court of Australia.

But to do so, the 68-year-old Chilean’s defense has to have special permission from the judges of Australia’s top court and convince them that her appeal is “purely legal and not procedural” and that her case is of “national importance,” Navarro said.

On Nov. 18, three federal judges held a hearing on an appeal presented by Rivas’ defense against a ruling in favor of her extradition by a local New South Wales Court on Oct. 29, 2020.

An earlier appeal in the Federal Court of Australia against the ruling was rejected in June.

It is believed that the Chilean, detained in prison in Sydney since February 2019, was an agent of the Chilean secret police during the 1973-1990 Pinochet dictatorship.

She was a close aide of secret police chief Manuel Contreras, who was one of the main figures of the dictatorship. EFE


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