A Sydney woman accused of kidnapping communist party members during the Pinochet regime in Chile has argued she should be released on bail because of COVID-19.
Adriana Rivas is facing extradition to Chile after being accused of being an operative for the country's secret police, Direccion de Inteligencia Nacional, and being involved in the disappearance of seven people in the 1970s.
Rivas on Wednesday applied in Sydney's Central Local Court to be released on bail citing the coronavirus crisis and medical conditions.
However, her application was opposed by lawyers for the Republic of Chile, who said she represented a flight risk and couldn't produce any evidence of her ailing health.
Rivas, 67, coughed and held up an asthma puffer as she viewed proceedings via a video link from prison. She's due to face an extradition hearing in mid-June.
Since her February 2019 arrest, she's twice been denied bail after citing depression, a bladder issue, osteoporosis and a longstanding kidney problem.
Her barrister, Frank Santisi, told the court on Wednesday she'd complained of heart problems to Justice Health and insisted she required surgery but authorities had failed to provide care.
"Why Ms Rivas has for almost 12 months not had her heart condition investigated and why has she not had the much-need surgery as promised?" Mr Santisi asked the court.
He said his client suffered asthma and was more prone to serious complications should she be infected by COVID-19.
But barrister Trent Glover, acting for the Republic of Chile, told the court Rivas had failed to produce any evidence of her problems and could not be bailed because of special or changed circumstances.
"There is no evidence her health condition is unable to be managed in custody," he said.
The court heard on Wednesday that Rivas was a member of a brigade which physically and psychologically tortured members of the communist party who opposed the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
Among her alleged victims were six men and Reinalda del Carmen Pereira Plaza, who was five months pregnant when she disappeared.
Rivas immigrated to Australia in the late 1970s with her family and worked as a nanny.
On a visit to Chile in 2006, she was arrested and charged with aggravated kidnapping, only to be granted bail and flee back to Australia via Peru in 2011.
Mr Glover said her bail application should be denied because she absconded while on bail in Chile nearly a decade ago and represented a flight risk.
During an interview with SBS in 2013, Rivas admitted to being a member of DINA, however she denies any wrongdoing.
She claimed in court on Wednesday she was a secretary for the organisation.
"It would have to be known by Ms Rivas what they (DINA) were doing and that they were a criminal group (but) there's no evidence to suggest any of it," Mr Santisi said.
Magistrate Robert Williams reserved his decision on the bail application until May 13.
Australian Associated Press