Chile’s Supreme Court is asking Australia to extradite Adriana Rivas, who is accused of involvement in torture during Chile’s 1973-1990 military dictatorship.
She is wanted for her role in the 1976 murder of a Communist Party leader who was held in a secret prison before he was suffocated and thrown into the ocean.
Rivas was assistant to Manuel Contreras, the head of the DINA secret police during General Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship.
She moved to Australia in 1978 but was detained during a visit to Chile in 2006.
Rivas was released after some months on probation and escaped to Australia.
In an interview last year with SBS, she insisted she was innocent of the charges.
But Ms Rivas has 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.”
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“Everyone knew they had to do that to somehow break people´s silence…Let´s talk about the things the way they were. It was necessary.”
“I mean…[it was] the same as what the Nazis used, do you understand? It was necessary. And do you think that the U.S. does not do the same? The whole world does it. Silent, underground, but they do it. This is the only way to break the people. Because psychologically, there is no method. There isn´t an injection –like in the movies- to make you tell the truth. It doesn´t exist.
“So the only way to break people is this way. Because nobody is going to sit down and ask: ‘what did you do today?'”
Extended interview: Adriana Rivas talks about her role as an intelligence agent for Chile’s secret police – DINA (Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional) – which was headed by military officer Manuel Contreras. The interview is in Spanish, click on the “cc” button on the video player to see the closed captions in English.
Read: Transcript of the interview in English
In a statement to SBS, a spokesperson from the Attorney General’s Department says: “It is the longstanding policy of the Australian Government not to disclose whether or not it has made or received an extradition request before a person is arrested or brought before a court in accordance with such a request.”
Any Australian court decision to extradite her needs the government’s approval.
The Chilean government is still continuing its efforts to extradite Rivas.