A Jerusalem judge has ruled that Malka Leifer, the principal who is accused of 74 counts of indecent assault and rape against students, is not mentally fit to face extradition to Australia.
Leifer is wanted by Victorian police on 74 charges of indecent assault and rape allegedly involving girls at the ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel School in Melbourne where she worked as principal in the mid-2000s.
ABC reports that Leifer has managed to evade 10 extradition proceedings over the course of two years, claiming that she suffers from panic attacks and that she is too unwell to attend court.
Following a report from the district psychiatrist that ruled her mentally unwell, Judge Amnon Cohen ruled that she was she would not face an extradition hearing until she had completed psychiatric treatment – which is initially due to last six months, but could take years according to ABC.
The judge also ruled that her house arrest would be lifted, meaning she was free to leave her home for the first time since her arrest in August 2014.
“I am so angry, this is very unfair,” one of Leifer’s alleged victims told The Weekend Australian. “She has basically been set free to live her life.”
“I would love the Australian government to put more pressure on Israel over this,” the victim added. “She needs to be bought back to face trial.”
Australia’s ambassador in Tel Aviv, Dave Sharma, says they are “committed” to seeing Leifer extradited.
“We are committed to seeing this woman extradited to Australia to face these very serious child sex abuse charges,” he told ABC.
“We are determined to be patient and persevere to this end with the view to seeing her extradited."