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News > Chile

Chilean Intelligence Agent Arrested in Australia for Kidnapping

  •  Augusto Pinochet, Chilean dictator (L) with former President Salvador Allende (R)

    Augusto Pinochet, Chilean dictator (L) with former President Salvador Allende (R) | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 February 2019

Member of Chile's intelligence agency during the Pinochet dictatorship, Adriana Rivas, is arrested in Australia after escaping there over 40 yeras ago.

The former secretary to the director of Chile’s National Directorate of Intelligence (DINA) during the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship was arrested in Australia Tuesday after fleeing to the county in 1978.

Four Former Agents of Pinochet Dictatorship Sentenced

Adriana Rivas has been escaping justice for over 40 years when she first fled Chile.

She has been evading extradition in Australia since 2014 when the Chilean Supreme Court ordered her return home to take responsibility for the kidnappings of seven Communist Party members that she helped oversee between 1974 and 1977.

Australian Judge Robert Williams still has to rule on the request for Rivas’ extradition.

Rivas, also known as ‘La Chany’, was the "right hand" of Manuel Contreras, director of Chile’s intelligence agency, DINA, during the Pinochet regime. Contreras is referred to as the ‘creator’ of Operation Condor, the CIA-backed operation in Chile that mandated the killings, torture and disappearance of between 3-10,000 people.

The Chilean fugitive first escaped to Australia in 1978 at the same time Contreras did. She remained there until 2007 when she traveled to Chile to visit family but was met at the airport by police who detained the fugitive. She later managed to escape detention and traveled to Argentina before return to Australia where she continued to live, disguising herself to avoid being caught.

Rivas's niece, Lissette Orozco released a documentary about her aunt in 2017 called "The Pact of Adriana", which revealed how Rivas viewed her work within the dictatorship.

The Chilean said in the documentary that “torture existed in Chile” since she could remember.

Rivas tells the camera in 'The Pact': “(Torture) always existed. He had to do that. They broke people in some way because the Communists are closed off. It was necessary. The same thing the Nazis did, do you understand me? It was a necessary part. Do you think that in the United States they do not do the same? They do it all over the world. It is the only way to break people.”

The lawyer for the family of one victim of Rivas told Chilean media Tuesday that she was “greatly satisfied” by the arrest. “It’s a relief mixed with pain."

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