Former Melbourne principal Malka Leifer to remain in Israeli prison

Malka Leifer first appeared in an Israeli court three years ago where her defence maintained she was unfit to be extradited.

Malka Leifer first appeared in an Israeli court three years ago where her defence maintained she was unfit to be extradited. Photo: ABC

Former Melbourne school principal Malka Leifer – who is accused of child sex crimes – will remain behind bars after a successful appeal against her release to home detention in an Israeli court.

Dassi Erlich, who has accused Leifer of abusing her, posted on her Facebook page that “Malka Leifer is to remain arrested and has not been granted bail” after the Supreme Court accepted the appeal.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling to keep Malka Leifer detained until the conclusion of extradition, is a positive step forward,” she said in a media statement.

“It addresses the concern of many that she is a flight risk and a possible danger to others. This ruling will also hopefully limit the stalling tactics of the defense because their client is now siting in prison awaiting a decision for extradition.

“We feel strengthened and encouraged by this successful appeal and await the next step in this lengthy road towards justice.”

An Israeli judge had said Ms Leifer could be released to home detention earlier this month after a rabbi offered to take care of her while she awaited an extradition outcome.

But he later withdrew his support for Ms Leifer – a former principal of the Addas ultra-orthodox girls school in Melbourne – to be released on house arrest days later.

Victorian police want to bring the 54-year-old, who was arrested in Israel in February, back to Australia to face 74 charges of child sexual abuse.

Ms Leifer had been ordered to stay in police custody in a medical facility while the Supreme Court considered the prosecution’s appeal against her release to home detention.

Manny Waks, an advocate for Kol v’Oz, a Jewish organisation combating child sex abuse, said justice had prevailed and “sanity has been restored to both Malka Leifer and the Israeli judicial system”.

“Now that she is incarcerated, hopefully the extradition process will be swift, and we can finally see Leifer face justice in Australia,” he said in a statement on Monday.

“Today is a great day for many people, not least Leifer’s courageous alleged victims.”

Her extradition is the subject of a separate court case.


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