Friday, February 19, 2021

Israel extradites Australian sex abuse suspect Malka Leifer  

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tiamin rice

Israel extradited alleged child sex abuser Malka Leifer to Australia early on Monday, following a lengthy legal battle, her lawyer Nick Kaufman told dpa.

Leifer, a former educator, was accused of sexually abusing several of her female students at the ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel School in Melbourne.

“I can confirm that the process of international transfer has commenced,’’ Kaufman said.

Former Israeli Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn tweeted: “the legal process was long and there were people who tried to pollute it. As minister of justice, I promised not to delay the extradition order, and I acted as such. Malka Leifer’s victims will finally get justice.’’

Leifer’s flight left Israel just ahead of an almost complete closure of the international airport.

The closure is a bid to prevent the arrival of new coronavirus variants.

“The Israeli authorities were expected to ensure the secrecy of the transfer operation and to ensure maximum respect for Ms Leifer’s dignity until she left Israeli jurisdiction,’’Kaufman said.

“This clearly did not happen, given the fact that photographs of her being led in handcuffs and leg cuffs were leaked to the press.’’

The 52-year-old Israeli citizen faces 74 charges of child sexual abuse for offences allegedly committed between 2004 and 2008, first when she was a teacher and then as the school’s headmistress.

Leifer fled to Israel in 2008 after allegations from former students emerged and she was subsequently suspended.

She has been fighting extradition from Israel since 2014.

Australia’s attorney-general Christian Porter called the decision to extradite her a “significant milestone which should provide alleged victims some hope.’’

dpa/NAN

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