Israel extradites woman wanted for sex crimes

Israeli authorities on Monday extradited a former teacher accused of sexually abusing her former students in Australia, capping a six-year legal battle that strained relations between the two governments and antagonised Australia's Jewish community.

Malka Leifer, who is wanted on 74 charges of child sex abuse in Australia, was placed on a flight early in the day, several hours before Israel was to close its international airport to nearly all air traffic due to a raging pandemic. Israeli media photographed Leifer boarding a plane at Ben Gurion Airport, her ankles and wrists shackled. Her lawyer, Nick Kaufman, confirmed the extradition.

Leifer, a former teacher accused of sexually abusing several former students at a Jewish school in Melbourne, had been fighting extradition since 2014. Leifer, however, maintains her innocence.

The protracted court case and repeated delays over her extradition had drawn criticism from Australian officials as well as the country’s Jewish leaders.

“This is an incredible day for justice!” said Manny Waks, head of Voice against Child Sex Abuse, an organisation representing Leifer’s victims. “We can now truly look forward to Leifer facing justice in Australia on the 74 charges,” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 7:41:02 PM |

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