Adriana Rivas (pictured) is wanted by Chilean authorities for the alleged aggravated kidnapping of seven people
Chilling government documents allege a Bondi nanny helped kidnap innocent South Americans, who were tortured with poison gas and blowtorches before being thrown out of helicopters.
Adriana Rivas, who has lived in Australia since 1978, is wanted by Chilean authorities for the alleged aggravated kidnapping of seven people.
She was working in the secret police at the time and Chile claims she was a key figure in purging dictator Augusto Pinochet’s political enemies in the 1970s.
Rivas was arrested in her public housing unit in Bondi, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, in February last year but has made several bids to stop her extradition to Chile.
She denies the allegations put forward by Chilean police.
Rivas’ bid for freedom was put in doubt in October when Magistrate Peter Stewart ruled she was eligible to be sent home to face the allegations.
Rivas is pictured with Chilean intelligence agency head General Manuel Contreras in the 70s
Details of Magistrate Stewart’s ruling were released a month later and revealed he heavily relied on two bound documents containing intelligence reports from Chilean authorities, The Daily Telegraph reported.
The documents alleged as a member of DINA – Chile’s secret police – Rivas assisted Pinochet to maintain his power in the mid-70s.
One of the bundled book of documents, which have been stamped by the embassy in Australia, said DINA operated secretly and outside the law.
‘Amongst the meanest instruments used by that systematic policy is the creation of specialised repression groups that implemented underground detention centres which later became places where the most hideous acts of horror, torture and genocide took place,’ a document states.
Rivas was allegedly a ‘member, agent or operative’ known by the alias ‘La Chani’.
The dossiers allege Lautaro Brigade – a unit of DINA that Rivas was allegedly a member of – relocated to their 8800 Simón Bolívar Headquarters in Santiago in 1975.
Rivas settled in Australia in 1978. She lived quietly in Sydney’s wealthy eastern suburbs, working as a part-time nanny and cleaner until her arrest
The headquarters were allegedly designed to detain members of the Chilean Communist Party.
The prisoners were allegedly subject to physical and psychological torture as a way of gathering information.
The headquarters had a gym and cafeteria, where the politicians were held.
They were quizzed and tortured in the dressing rooms next to the gym, which was referred to as ‘dungeons’.
Prisoners were part of sarin gas experiments overseen by doctors and once interrogations were completed the detainees were injected with unknown substances.
Plastic bags were then used to suffocate the prisoners.
Pictured: Supporters of those who disappeared in Chile in 1970s are seen outside the Sydney Central Local Court on October 29 as a magistrate ruled Rivas was eligible for extradition
‘Dead bodies were burnt their fingerprints and face with a welding torch; this was done inside the empty swimming pool,’ the documents state.
‘Then, the bodies were put inside sacks, tied-up with cables to a piece of railway beam and then thrown into the ocean by Air Force helicopters.’
All members of the brigade are alleged to have been involved in the ‘operational duties’ at the headquarters.
Rivas denies she participated in the disappearances, acts of torture, and homicides, instead claiming she took on secretarial jobs at the headquarters.
Rivas is appealing her extradition in the Federal Court.
In October, Magistrate Philip Stewart dismissed Rivas’ lawyers’ objections to her extradition on allegations that she kidnapped seven people in 1976 and 1977, including Communist Party leader Victor Diaz.
Members of the Chilean Australian community from the National Campaign for Truth and Justice in Chile, Australia wear pictures of some of the victims following a brief court appearance by Adriana Rivas at Central Local Court in Sydney on April 2, 2019
The alleged victims have never been found.
Rivas has been in custody since her arrest in Sydney in February 2019 on a Chilean Supreme Court extradition order.
Several court attempts for provisional release during the extradition hearing have failed.
Chilean-born lawyer and advocate for Pinochet’s victims Adriana Navarro said Rivas’ case was the first of its kind and ‘extremely important’.
‘We are happy that Australia is on the side of human rights and it respects human rights,’ Navarro told reporters outside the Sydney court following the October ruling.
In 2014, Rivas told SBS that 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
Rivas moved to Australia in 1978 and was detained in Chile during a visit to see family in 2006. She was released after some months on probation and fled to Australia in 2009.
She lived quietly in Sydney’s wealthy eastern suburbs, working as a part-time nanny and cleaner until her arrest.
Australia and Chile have had an extradition treaty since 1993.
In 2014, Rivas told SBS that 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.