Former school principal extradited by Israel to face over 70 charges of sexual abuse in Australia

The former school principal has been wanted in Australia for years and was extradited by Israel earlier this year, following a six-year-long legal saga.

By Tobias Siegal, World Israel News

Alleged sex-offender Malka Leifer, 55, who was extradited from Israel to Australia on January, will face over 70 charges of sexual abuse and rape during her trial at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday, Australian media reported.

Leifer had reportedly pleaded not guilty to all charges brought against her during a court hearing earlier this week.

The former school principal has been wanted in Australia for years and was extradited earlier this year, following a six-year-long legal saga.

Among the charges Leifer now faces, is the continued abuse of three of her students: Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper, when serving as head of a school for Jewish girls in Melbourne between 2004 and 2008.

And while Leifer has tried to avoid extradition by claiming she was mentally ill, an Israeli court ruled last September that she was fit for trial and approved her extradition.

The story continued to make headlines in Israel though, when it was reported that Israeli lawmaker Yaakov Litzman, who served as Health Minister at the time, was suspected of trying to influence the opinion of psychiatrists from the Health Ministry who were appointed to determine Leifer’s mental capacity, ultimately trying to prevent her extradition.

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Three senior psychiatrists were required to give an opinion on the matter, and the investigation revealed that Litzman had more than once contacted the district psychiatrists, who are prosecution witnesses, and sent them a message about the desired opinion, reportedly promising promotions in exchange for their opinions.