Israeli judge agrees for alleged child sex abuser Malka Leifer be extradited

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Israeli judge agrees for alleged child sex abuser Malka Leifer be extradited

Latest ruling was heralded as a 'victory for justice, a victory for all survivors' of her alleged crimes, including 74 charges of indecent assault and rape

Malka Leifer entering a courtroom (October 2019)
Malka Leifer entering a courtroom (October 2019)

Yet another Israeli judge this week ordered accused child sex abuser Malka Leifer be extradited to Australia to face 74 charges of indecent assault and rape after 12 years of delays – but she could still appeal.

Leifer has been accused by several of her former students at an Orthodox Jewish girls’ school in Melbourne, where she was headteacher. They tweeted that the latest ruling was a “victory for justice, a victory for all survivors”.

Since she fled to Israel in 2008 hours before she was due to be arrested, her lawyers have stymied the extradition process with legal wrangling and psychiatric assessments, until she was recently found to have been faking mental ill health.

“Exhaling years of holding our breath!” wrote accuser Dassi Erlich on Twitter after hearing the news from Jerusalem district court. “We truly value every person standing with us in our refusal to remain silent! Today our hearts are smiling!”

There have now been an incredible 71 legal hearings on Leifer’s extradition, at one point garnering the intervention of a strictly Orthodox Israeli minister, Ya’acov Litzman, on her behalf. He has since resigned, accused of abuse of power.

Her lawyer has argued that she would not get a fair trial in Australia, that she could not maintain her strictly Orthodox lifestyle in prison there, and that the prosecution had not proven that the girls did not give their consent.

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