Plea for expediting the Leifer extradition hearings

April 2, 2020 by Henry Benjamin
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Three leading organisations within the Australian Jewish community have sent a joint letter to Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin calling on him to make good his pledge to do whatever he could to expedite the case against Malka Leifer.

President Reuven Rivlin attending a UIA event in Australia in January.

Leifer fled Australia in 2008 ahead of facing 74 charges of child sexual abuse. There have been over 60 hearings in a Jerusalem court in the hope of her extradition to Melbourne.

The Zionist Federation of Australia, The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council and The Executive Council of Australian Jewry penned the letter on Tuesday to the president reminding him of a pledge he gave during his visit to Australia in January to do what he could to stop the interminable delays.

In the letter they wrote “As you know, Malka Leifer’s lawyers have resisted her extradition, maintaining that she is mentally unfit to participate in court proceedings.

So many aspects of this case have become notorious: the unexplained reversals of testimony by Jerusalem District Psychiatrist Jacob Charnes about Malka Leifer’s mental fitness; the recommendation by Israeli police that Yaakov Litzman be charged with manipulating psychiatric evidence in the case while he was Israel’s Deputy Health Minister; the evidence that Malka Leifer has been malingering; and the seemingly never-ending rounds of psychiatric assessments.

Malka Leifer in court June 14, 2018 Photo: Hillel Maeir/TPS

As each court appearance has passed without resulting in an extradition order, further trauma has been inflicted on the survivors and the reputation of Israel’s justice system has been tarnished. We are utterly appalled by reports that Mr Litzman may be Health Minister in the new Israeli government, while the accusations against him concerning the ongoing Malka Leifer case remain unresolved.”

The signatories, Mark Leibler AIJAC, Jillian Segal ECAJ, Jeremy Leibler ZFA, Dr Colin Rubenstein AIJAC, Peter Wertheim ECAJ, Alex Ryvchin ECAJ and Ginette Searle ZFA wrote that “some of Israel’s most passionate supporters within the Jewish community and in the wider community in Australia have publicly expressed their dismay about the delays that have occurred and other irregular aspects of the case.”

President Rivlin told leaders in Australia during his visit if there had not been any further progress he would meet with Israel’s Chief Justice to discuss expedite the proceedings.

The letter goes on: “Sadly, there has been no such progress. Justice continues to be delayed and denied for Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer, Elly Sapper and Malka Leifer’s other alleged victims.

We appeal to you to make good on your pledge during your visit to Australia to make personal contact with the Chief Justice of Israel and do anything else within your power to discuss how this matter can be expedited and brought to a finality without further delay. This is the unanimous desire of the organised Jewish community in Australia, and of Israel’s many friends in the wider Australian community. Justice demands no less.”

By Thursday morning no reply had been received from the President or his office. The receipt of the letter has not been acknowledged according to Peter Wertheim. It a copy has been acknowledged by the Israeli Embassy in Canberra.

 

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