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Alleged paedophile Malka Leifer declared mentally fit for extradition to Australia to face charges

Former Melbourne school principal Malka Leifer has been declared mentally fit to be extradited from Israel to Australia, where she is charged with more than 70 counts of child sex abuse.

Judge Miriam Lomp made the determination in the Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday night.

An extradition hearing could begin soon, but it is expected Leifer’s defence team will lodge an appeal.

Leifer, 54, faces 74 counts of sexual assault in Victoria related to accusations by three sisters who say they were abused during their time at the ultra-orthodox Adass Israel school more than a decade ago. 

Leifer has denied the allegations against her.

The Israeli-born Leifer left Australia when the allegations surfaced in 2008 and has remained in Israel since.

Australia lodged an extradition request for Leifer in 2014, but the case has been repeatedly delayed.

Leifer’s lawyers have continually argued she is unfit to face extradition due to poor mental health and a court agreed to release her in 2016.

Two years later she was re-arrested, after a police investigation cast doubt on those health claims.

Dassi Erlich, one of Leifer’s accusers, described Tuesday’s judgement as “huge”.

“We’re all sitting completely shocked, trying to process this – it’s huge,” she told SBS News shortly after the verdict.

“We’re so happy and so thrilled.”

The delays have caused friction between Israel and Australia.

Australia’s Attorney-General Christian Porter raised the matter with his Israeli counterpart in December.

In February, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin promised to intervene if the case continued for too long.

Readers seeking support can contact Lifeline crisis support on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 and Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 (for young people aged 5 to 25). More information is available at Beyond Blue.org.au and lifeline.org.au.

Anyone seeking information or support relating to sexual abuse can contact Bravehearts on 1800 272 831 or Blue Knot on 1300 657 380.

Source: SBS

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