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Israel agrees to extradite sex abuse suspect to Australia

December 16, 2020 at 11:14 am

Malka Leifer (C), a former Australian teacher accused of dozens of cases of sexual abuse of girls at a school, is escorted by police as she arrives for a hearing at the District Court in Jerusalem on February 27, 2018 [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]

The Israeli Supreme Court yesterday ruled that Malka Leifer could be extradited to Australia over legal claims accusing her of sexually abusing students when she ran a secondary school in Melbourne between 2003 and 2008.

The Times of Israel reported that the court’s ruling brought Leifer’s six-year effort to prevent the move to an almost certain end.

“All who seek to evade justice shall know that they will not find a city of refuge in Israel,” Justices Anat Baron, Isaac Amit, and Ofer Grosskopf wrote in a unanimous decision, according to the Times of Israel.

Israeli Hebrew newspaper Maariv said that Leifer faces 74 claims of sexual abuse against minors, adding that she would remain in detention in Israel until her extradition.

Since Australia filed its extradition request in 2014, “it appears that there was no proceeding that the appellant has not taken and that there was no claim that she missed, in an attempt to prevent her extradition,” the judges added.

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Israeli Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, whose signature is required to authorise Leifer’s transfer to Australia, swiftly tweeted that he will not dawdle in signing the paperwork.

“After long and torturous years, the time has come to do justice to Leifer’s victims,” Israeli media reported him writing on Twitter. “I intend to sign the extradition order without delay.”

Once Nissenkorn signs off on the extradition, Israel will have 60 days to place Leifer on a plane to Australia.