Extradition proceedings could recommence as early as this week in Israel against alleged paedophile Malka Leifer who is wanted by Victoria Police on 74 charges of child sex abuse.
Israeli police arrested Ms Leifer on Monday and authorities have accused her of faking mental illness to avoid extradition to Australia.
Nick Mazzeo, who represents an alleged victim, said Israel’s Justice Ministry informed his client that Ms Leifer would this week appear in court on domestic charges relating to obstruction of legal proceedings and claims she was mentally unfit to stand trial.
Ms Leifer is then expected to go before court again for an extradition review, Mr Mazzeo said.
The former principal fled to Israel in 2008 when allegations emerged that she had sexually abused girls at the ultra-orthodox Adass Israel School in Elsternwick.
But Mr Mazzeo said it was unclear if the domestic charges would need to go through court in Israel before Ms Leifer could be extradited.
“Hopefully that doesn’t delay the substantive charges coming from Victoria,” he said.
Ms Leifer was arrested by Israeli police in 2014 when Australia applied for her extradition, but proceedings were dropped when a psychiatrist found Ms Leifer was unfit to stand trial.
Ms Leifer was released from house arrest and ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment in Jerusalem.
Israeli police re-arrested Ms Leifer, 50, on Monday in the northern West Bank on suspicion of obstructing court proceedings and attempting to hide evidence in a case.
“A police undercover investigation has been underway for a month, following an Interpol request to investigate the suspect,” a statement translated by the ABC reads.
“During 2017 there were indications that the suspect was pretending to be suffering from mental illness in order to avoid the extradition process.”
Mr Mazzeo said Ms Leifer was being held in a women’s only prison.
An alleged victim of Ms Leifer’s successfully sued the former principal in the Supreme Court of Victoria in 2015 and was awarded $1.27 million in compensation.
Mr Mazzeo said efforts by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Premier Daniel Andrews last year to raise the matter with the Israeli government had helped achieve the development.
Read the full article written by Ebony Bowden & Benjamin Preiss at The Age.