(JTA) — An Israeli court has ruled against extraditing the former principal of a Jewish girls’ school in Melbourne who fled to Israel amid allegations that she sexually abused students, saying she is mentally ill.
On Tuesday, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that Malka Leifer should be dealt with “in the realm of mental illness.”
Leifer, who is wanted on 74 charges of child sexual abuse in Melbourne, was arrested earlier this month following a police undercover operation to investigate her claim that she is mentally unfit to appear in court.
Her attorney, Yehuda Fried, said the ruling likely means a process of many years before her extradition can be reconsidered.
Leifer, the former principal of the Adass Yisroel girls’ school, has avoided court proceedings to seek her extradition to Australia by claiming mental incapacity. The police operation was undertaken at the request of Interpol.
Leifer, who is in her 50s, reportedly has been living in the northern West Bank town of Emmanuel, where she was arrested. She fled Australia in 2008, allegedly with the help of school officials, shortly before she was charged.