JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli authorities on Monday extradited a woman to 74 charges of child sexual abuse in Australia after a six-year legal battle strained relations between the two governments.
Malka Leifer, a former teacher at a Jewish school in Melbourne accusing several alumni of sexual misconduct, had been fighting extradition from Israel since 2014. Leifer maintained his innocence and was criticized by Australian authorities for repeated delays in court litigation and extradition. As well as the country’s Jewish leader.
Israeli media photographed the boarding of the liffer in a plane at Ben Gurion Airport early Monday, jerking his ankles and wrists. His lawyer Nick Kaufman confirmed the extradition.
The Hebrew-language news site Ynet reported that she boarded a flight to Frankfurt, where she would transfer to another flight bound for Australia.
His departure time was over, so that he would leave the country at midnight before Israel’s airport was shut down due to the country’s coronovirus outbreak.
In December, the Supreme Court rejected a final appeal against her extradition, and Israel’s justice minister signed an order to send her to Australia.
Leifer faces 74 allegations of child sexual abuse, which she allegedly made while teaching in Melbourne.
After accusations against her in 2008, the Israeli-born Leifer left school and returned to Israel, where she lives.
Critics, including Leifer’s alleged victims, accused Israeli officials of draining the case for too long, while Leifer claimed she was mentally unfit to stand trial.
Last year, an Israeli psychiatry panel determined that Leifer was lying about her mental state, set in motion for extradition.
Avi Nissenkorn, the former Israeli Minister of Justice who signed the extradition order, wrote on Twitter: “I promised that I would not obstruct the extradition order, and that is what I did. The victims of Malacca Leafer will ultimately serve justice.
Manny Wex, head of voice against Child Sex Abuse, an organization representing Leifer’s victims, said in a statement that “this is an incredible day for justice!”
“We are now facing justice in Australia on 74 charges before the envelope,” he said.