An Australia-based former nanny lost her second appeal against extradition to Chile on Wednesday where she allegedly served as a member of the feared secret police during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
Adriana Elcira Rivas Gonzalez, now in her late 60s, faces seven charges of aggravated kidnapping carried out in the 1970s including the 1976 disappearance of senior Communist Party official Victor Manuel Diaz Lopez.
She has been fighting extradition since being arrested and detained by Australian authorities in February 2019 for her suspected involvement in kidnappings under the US-backed Pinochet regime, which toppled the democratically elected socialist government of President Salvador Allende.
The military junta presided over thousands of murders, tortures and forced disappearances as Latin America was ravaged by Cold War-fuelled violence.
In June this year, Rivas lost her first Federal Court appeal against a 2020 lower court’s ruling that she was eligible to be extradited to Chile.
Now, a full bench of the federal court has confirmed that decision.
“In this appeal, much of Ms Rivas’ submissions were directed to the assertion that she is not guilty of the offences which are the subject of the extradition request,” said a ruling by three Federal Court judges, Debra Mortimer, Robert Bromwich and Stewart Anderson.
“Guilt or innocence forms no part of the international extradition process,” they said, adding that this was a matter for the Chilean courts to decide.
“The appeal is dismissed,” the judges concluded, finding Rivas was eligible for extradition and should also pay Chile’s costs.
Chile formally requested her extradition in 2018 from Sydney, where she had been working as a nanny and a cleaner in the city’s Bondi area.
Rivas has lived in Australia for three decades and was previously arrested while visiting Chile in 2007, but later fled to Australia while on bail.
In a 2013 interview with Australian broadcaster SBS, Rivas claimed she was innocent, but defended the use of torture in Chile at the time.
“They had to break the people — it has happened all over the world, not only in Chile,” she said.