Extradition proceedings halted against ex-principal at Australian Jewish school

JERUSALEM (JTA) – An Israeli court has halted extradition procedures against the former principal of a Jewish girls’ school in Melbourne who fled Australia amid claims she sexually abused some of her students.

The Jerusalem District Court on Sunday halted the process after a state-appointed psychiatrist determined that Malka Leifer was unfit to stand trial.

Extradition proceedings have been delayed at least eight times due to Leifer’s psychiatric episodes, some of which have required hospitalization.

The prosecution and defense have asked the Jerusalem district psychiatrist to recommend a course of treatment for Leifer, with extradition proceedings halted until her recovery. Treatment options include hospitalization, outpatient or no treatment. The judge is set to rule June 2 on the recommendation.

Leifer lives in the haredi Orthodox community of Bnei Brak and is under electronic surveillance, according to Haaretz.

The former Adass Israel School principal fled to Israel from Australia in 2008 in the wake of the sexual misconduct accusations. If extradited, she will face 74 charges of indecent assault and rape of former students at the haredi school.

The tight-knit Adass Israel community was founded by Holocaust survivors in the early 1940s. It comprises about 200 haredi families.

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