Israeli Accused of Intercourse Abuse in Australia Can Be Extradited, Court Says


JERUSALEM — A former principal of a Jewish girls’ college in Australia accused of sexually assaulting her pupils can be extradited to encounter trial there, a court in Israel ruled on Monday, bringing a yearslong legal saga that has strained relations among the two nations to a prospective near.

Australia has been looking for the extradition of the former principal, Malka Leifer, for practically 6 many years on 74 expenses of sexual assault on former college students in the college. At the heart of the situation are allegations of 3 sisters who say they have been abused when attending the ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel College in Melbourne in the early 2000s.

“This is a victory for justice!” Dassi Erlich, a single of the sisters, stated in a submit on Facebook. “A victory not just for us, but for all survivors. Exhaling many years of holding our breath!”

Ms. Leifer’s attorneys in Israel had argued that she was mentally unfit to stand trial, but following many years of personal and police investigations and examinations by numerous psychiatric panels, the Israeli courts ultimately ruled that she had faked psychological sickness.

Ms. Leifer now has thirty days in which to appeal the determination to Israel’s Supreme Court. The Israeli justice minister need to approve any extradition request.

In an interview by cell phone, Ms. Erlich, who was with her two sisters, Elly Sapper and Nicole Meyer, stated they have been all elated and relieved at the determination.

“To have so a lot of twists and turns, and cover-ups, it is manufactured this second substantial for us,” she stated. “We’re all just taking it in.”

Ms. Leifer, an Israeli citizen, moved to Australia in 2001, in accordance to court paperwork. The accusations relate to a time period among 2004 and 2008, when she was principal of the college, in accordance to the Israeli judicial authorities.

She fled to Israel in 2008 when the accusations towards her very first emerged. Australia formally requested her extradition in 2014.

Soon after dozens of hearings, the Jerusalem District Court established in Might that Ms. Leifer was match to encounter extradition proceedings following earlier rulings that she had been feigning psychological incompetence for many years.

“Today is an vital and major day for the rule of law, for global cooperation and most importantly for these who have been victims of Malka Leifer’s crimes,” Israel’s Justice Ministry stated in a statement launched following Monday’s ruling.

The statement additional that Ms. Leifer had “made each work to delay the proceedings and keep away from extradition, such as repeated attempts to persuade the court that she was not competent to undergo extradition proceedings” but that the court had lastly place an finish to these efforts.

Ms. Leifer’s attorneys, Tal Gabai and Yehuda Fried, issued their personal statement, vowing to contest the determination in the Supreme Court.

“Today’s determination of the District Court is not the last word,” the statement go through, including that there have been really serious reservations about Ms. Leifer’s skill to stand trial. It also mentioned that prison services authorities have been nevertheless assessing her psychological state and that she was obtaining “significant antipsychotic treatment” in the prison wherever she is getting held.

Manny Waks, the head of Kol V’Oz, an Israeli organization that operates on behalf of Jewish survivors of youngster intercourse abuse, mentioned that Israel’s Supreme Court had so far ruled in favor of the prosecution all through the Leifer situation and stated it was “simply a matter of time” prior to she was sent to Australia.

“I’m nevertheless hopeful that this will come about by the finish of 2020,” he stated in a statement. “We’ll carry on to do anything we can to make sure justice prevails.”

Ms. Meyer, an additional of the sisters who have accused Ms. Leifer of assault, stated she hoped other sexual abuse survivors would come across power in their persistence.

“We did not give up for justice,” she stated. “It was so tough along the way.”

Damien Cave contributed reporting from Sydney, Australia.

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