Australian MPs from both major parties were calling on PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to extradite accused child molester, Haredi girl school principal Malka Leifer into the hands of Australian authorities, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Monday.
Liberal MP Dave Sharma—a former ambassador to Israel, and Labor MP Josh Burns on Monday introduced a bipartisan motion in the House of Representatives complaining about Israel’s “numerous attempts to prevent and delay” Leifer’s extradition – since 2014.
In January 2020, A psychiatric panel decided that Leifer is mentally fit to stand trial and has been pretending to have mental illness. In December, the Jerusalem District Court delayed its decision regarding whether or not Leifer was mentally fit to be extradited to Australia after the psychiatric panel that was supposed to evaluate her notified the court it was unaware of a deadline for its definitive conclusion on the matter.
Leifer, a dual-citizen of Israel and Australia who ran a Haredi girls’ school in Melbourne, fled after having been indicted, and Australia is impatiently demanding her extradition. But Lifer’s attorneys argued she was not mentally able to be extradited.
However, in 2018, four years into this fiasco, court-appointed psychiatrists determined Leifer was an impostor and fit to stand trial. Since then, she has been held in Neve Tirza women’s prison.
But then, in a September 2019 hearing, the district court ruled it had not been proven that Leifer can stand trial, and ordered yet another team of experts to be set up to decide the issue. Then, a short while later, District Court Judge Ram Winograd ordered Leifer’s release to house arrest, ruling that “the balance tends to point to a release to alternative detention,” seeing as it had not yet been proven that Leifer did impersonate her psychiatric symptoms.
The prosecution appealed the decision, and Supreme Court Justice Anat Baron placed an injunction on the release pending her decision on the state’s and Leifer’s appeals. Leifer has been in prison since, pending a decision on her extradition.
“We have been exceptionally patient in this case, but enough is enough,” MP Sharma said in a statement. “To our friends in Israel we say: It is time to act. Do the right thing and support justice for victims in both our countries.”
MP Burns insisted “we must maintain pressure until Leifer faces an Australian courtroom.”