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Saturday, October 05, 2019 

Court should not release Malka Leifer even to house arrest, and should be extraditing her already

The irritating delay of Haredi child molestor Malka Leifer's extradition continues, as a judge initially ordered her release to house arrest, and now there's warnings this could all harm relations with Australia:
The long-stalled decision on whether to extradite an alleged sexual predator from Israel to Australia appeared to put a strain on diplomatic ties on Thursday, with officials from both countries expressing concern about the protracted legal process.

On Wednesday, Jerusalem District Court Judge Ram Vinograd ordered that Malka Leifer, facing extradition to Australia on charges of sexual abuse against former students, be released to house arrest, sparking an international outcry.

Both sides then appealed to the Supreme Court, with the defense demanding an unrestricted release and the prosecution pushing for her to remain behind bars.

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday it would keep Leifer in custody while it considers the appeal.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement that she raised the issue with her Israeli counterpart Israel Katz as recently as last week.

Australia’s Attorney General Christian Porter said “the length of time that Israel is taking to finalize Australia’s extradition request is regrettable,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The Australian Government considers that it is vital that Ms Leifer return to Australia to face the charges against her and will continue to press for Ms Leifer’s extradition to Australia,” said Porter.

Labour MP Josh Burns called the Wednesday decision to release Leifer to house arrest “deeply disappointing” and said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison “should make direct contact with Israel to express Australia’s strong view that Ms. Leifer must be extradited to Australia to face justice with no further delays.”

Israel’s Ambassador to Australia appeared to comes as close as an envoy could to criticizing a court ruling from his own country.

“While Israeli lawcourts are independent, there are very many in Israel, including the State Prosecution, who find the recent legal decisions regarding Malka Leifer incomprehensible and are working avidly to overturn them,” Mark Sofer tweeted. “In their eyes, the case has gone on for far too long and nothing short of full justice can be acceptable. Uppermost in their minds is the immediate extradition of Malka Leifer to Australia to stand trial.”

An unnamed Israeli diplomatic official told Haaretz that the lower Jerusalem court’s decision was “the last straw” for Melbourne, which has waited over five years for Leifer to be extradited.

“This case is causing irreparable harm to Israel-Australia relations,” the diplomatic official told Haaretz. “This story is shocking to the Australian public, the rape of little girls seemingly being whitewashed. We have many areas of cooperation with Australia, including security, and they are in real danger.”
So far, the appeals judge is keeping her behind bars, and it's been said in the Australian press that the judge is warning Leifer could be a flight risk. But this is still offensive in the extreme how, based on her ultra-Orthodox background, she's still being given a preferential treatment that probably wouldn't be afforded to somebody not of that background. The authorities involved should just simply announce that extradition is to take place immediately, and stop insulting Leifer's victims already. This is just atrocious.

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  • I'm Avi Green
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  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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