Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Woman wanted in Australia for sex crimes detained in Israel

Woman wanted in Australia for sex crimes detained in Israel

Police in Israel have arrested Malka Leifer, an Australian woman who is wanted in her home country on child sex abuse charges.

Her lawyers argued she was too unwell to attend any court hearings for three years, convincing the psychiatric review board, even as little as two weeks ago, that she suffered from panic attacks and anxiety.

Leifer, the former principal of the Adass Yisroel girls' school, has avoided court proceedings to seek her extradition to Australia with her claim of mental incapacity. After launching a probe spurred by complaints from her alleged victims, police concluded that she faked mental illness and obstructed court proceedings.

"In the course of the investigation, a variety of complex and sophisticated actions were carried out that required the use of advanced technological means", said the statement, which credited Interpol, the worldwide policing association, spurring the investigation forwards.

"Based on new evidence that is being found, both by the Israeli police as well as social services, we believe that she can stand trial and all of the documents that she had in fact presented over the last few years were fake documents and the psychological analysis that were given were incorrect and inaccurate, " Rosenfeld said.

In 2014, Israeli authorities asked that she be extradited per Australia's request.

According to the statement from the authorities, they opened a "covert investigation" in to the alleged sex offender, after "indications accumulated that the suspect was pretending to suffer from mental illness in order to avoid the extradition process".

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Malka Leifer is facing extradition proceedings from Israel as she faces 74 allegations of rape and sexual abuse against children. Additionally, the Department of International Affairs in the State Attorney's Office has requested that the court renew the extradition process against the suspect in order to declare her extradition to Australia.

Nicole Meyer fears her alleged childhood predator, arrested in Israel, could fight extradition.

"We see this as a very important breakthrough in our long journey to achieve justice".

"It is shocking that claims of fraud and the feigning of mental illness have been used to evade justice for such a long time, but we are relieved that Malka Leifer's arrest removes her from posing a potential threat to other vulnerable children", she wrote in a Facebook post. Her extradition process has also begun anew.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull both raised the case with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during visits previous year.

However, Australia's ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, told Reuters he would "pursue" efforts to have Ms Leifer extradited.

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