JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Jerusalem District Court judge denied a request that a former principal of a school in Australia who fled to Israel after being accused of molesting female students be released to house arrest.
Malka Leifer fled to Israel in 2008 amid allegations that she had sexually abused students at the Adass Yisroel school in Melbourne. She is wanted on 74 charges of child sexual abuse in that city.
Leifer’s attorneys told the court on Monday that the year that she has been held in prison has caused her mental state to further deteriorate.
She was arrested in Israel in 2014 and then released after being deemed mentally unfit for the legal proceedings. She was rearrested last year after an undercover investigation found that she lived a normal life and was mentally fit to face extradition proceedings.
The judge agreed to revisit the decision if he received an updated psychiatric opinion, a proposal which both sides rejected.
The most recent psychiatric report had found Leifer mentally fit to remain in prison and attend extradition hearings. Evaluations in 2016 and 2014, however, had found her too unstable to be deported.
Extradition proceedings are scheduled to begin on March 6.
Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman will be questioned later this week by police regarding accusations that he attempted to pressure the Jerusalem district psychiatrist into falsely stating that Malka Leifer is mentally unfit to be extradited to Australia to stand trial.