Israeli court rules accused sex offender can be extradited for trial

Leifer is facing 74 charges of rape and child sexual abuse.

By World Israel News Staff and AP

An Israeli court on Tuesday ruled that a former school principal wanted on pedophilia charges in Australia is mentally fit to be extradited and stand trial. Malka Leifer’s attorneys had claimed she suffers from mental illness.

The ruling in the Jerusalem District Court capped a six-year-long legal battle in the case of Leifer,  a dual Israeli-Australian citizen, who is accused of rape and child sexual assault spanning over a decade.

“We cannot believe this day has come!!! Incredible news!! We knew this all along! Such a long wait, justice has come!!” tweeted Dassi Ehrlich, one of Leifer’s alleged victims.

“The court decision that Malka Leifer is fit to stand trial is truly wonderful. We may not always grasp the wheels of justice, but at the end of the day, in free and open societies the truth will emerge,” Israel’s Ambassador to Australia Mark Sofer tweeted.

Australian police began investigating Leifer in 2008 after sex abuse allegations surfaced from former students who attended the ultra-orthodox Adass Israel school in Melbourne between 2003 and 2008.

The former principal along with four of her eight children fled to Israel within hours after the allegations broke in March 2008. Allegedly the school’s board members arranged and paid for Leifer’s plane tickets.

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Two years later, Leifer was arrested in Israel but released to house arrest shortly thereafter, and eventually was deemed unfit to stand trial due to psychiatric illness.

In 2018, the 53-year-old was arrested again after the Jewish Community Watch, an undercover investigation agency, found Leifer going about her daily life unhindered.

In January, a psychiatric panel said it determined Leifer had lied about suffering a mental condition and said she was fit to stand trial. The Israeli Justice Ministry said in light of those findings it would move to expedite her extradition.

Leifer is facing 74 charges of rape and child sexual abuse.