Australian government welcomes Leifer extradition order

December 17, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Australian Government has welcomed the latest, significant developments in Israel overnight in the extradition proceedings against Malka Leifer.

Malka Leifer, a former school principal, who is wanted on 74 charges of sexual abuse in Melbourne, Australia, is escorted into the Jerusalem District Court. Jerusalem, Jun 14, 2018. Photo by Hillel Maeir/TPS

Israel’s Justice Minister has confirmed he has signed the extradition order for Ms Leifer to be sent to Australia where she can face trial on the serious allegations against her of child sexual assault.

In signing the extradition order, the Justice Minister, Mr Nissenkorn, said: “After many years of legal battle, it is our moral duty to allow the Australian legal authorities to put her on trial.”

Attorney-General, Christian Porter, said the allegations against Ms Leifer are very serious.

“Ms Leifer is wanted to stand trial in Victoria on 74 counts of child sexual abuse,” the Attorney-General said.

“These are extremely serious allegations which should be heard within the Victorian judicial system.  After many years, it now appears that is close to becoming a reality.”

Foreign Minister Marise Payne welcomed the fact that the Australian legal system is now close to hearing Malka Leifer’s case.

“My thoughts this morning remain with the alleged victims, including Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer, Elly Sapper, who have mounted a determined campaign to ensure that the allegations against Ms Leifer are heard by the Australian legal system.

They have shown enormous patience and resolve. I hope these developments overnight give them confidence that this chapter in the long-running and difficult process is drawing to a close, and the charges against Malka Leifer can soon be heard in Australia.”

The Ministers said that while there are still potential legal steps open to Ms Leifer’s legal team in Israel, they were heartened by reports that they would not be challenging the extradition order.  However, it is important that be formally confirmed.

Once all processes in Israel are concluded, Israeli and Australian authorities will work together to organise Ms Leifer’s surrender to Australian authorities for her return to Australia.  Surrender is required within 60 days of the conclusion of all formal Israeli processes.

Victoria Police will be the lead agency responsible for the logistic arrangements for Ms Leifer’s return to Victoria supported by Commonwealth agencies as required.

In the meantime, Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus and Labor MP for Macnamara Josh Burns released a statement expressing: “Labor welcomes the imminent conclusion of the 12-year battle to bring Malka Leifer to justice in Australia.

The decision by Malka Leifer’s lawyers to waive their right to one final appeal means there are no further legal obstacles.

Under Israeli law, Malka Leifer is now required to be extradited within 60 days to Victoria, where she is wanted to stand trial on 74 counts of child sexual abuse

Labor appreciates the statement from Israeli Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn that “it is our moral duty to allow the Australian legal authorities to put her on trial.”

Labor pays tribute to the courage of Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper in their long pursuit of justice since Malka Leifer fled Australia 12 years ago to avoid standing trial.

President Reuven Rivlin spoke by telephone to the Governor-General David Hurley.

The extradition of Malka Leifer was a central issue in the president’s meetings during his state visit to Australia last year, and since then he has followed developments and been in contact with officials and the Jewish community in Australia on the matter.

The president updated the governor-general that the justice minister yesterday signed the extradition warrant, saying “these recent developments are a very significant step in the proper conclusion of this difficult matter that has taken too long to resolve. I hope that this will lessen, even if only slightly, the terrible suffering of the victims.”

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