Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called on Israel to “transparently and quickly” extradite Malka Leifer, wanted in Australia on 74 charges of child abuse.
Morrison, in a statement issued by his office on Wednesday, said he has raised the issue of Leifer’s deportation and his commitment to have her face the child abuse charges with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that he will “continue to raise this issue with the incoming Israeli leadership.”
“Australia is a strong and committed friend and partner of Israel,” Morrison wrote, adding: “That friendship is based on many things, including our shared commitment to justice, democracy and the rule of law. The Australian Government will be unswerving in seeking justice in this matter.”
Morrison’s statement comes after he met on Wednesday at Parliament House in Canberra with sisters Dassi Erlich and Nicole Meyer, two of Leifer’s alleged victims.
Erlich in a tweet called the meeting “extremely productive and encouraging,” and wrote: “We felt heard and supported.”
Leifer, 52, fled to Israel from Australia in 2008 amid allegations that she had sexually abused students at the Adass Yisroel school in Melbourne. Australia officially filed an extradition request in 2014.
She was arrested the same year 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 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.
Israel’s Supreme Court has ordered her held in jail until legal proceedings have been completed.