The lawyer for a former Australian school principal accused of sexually assaulting students says his client was extradited to Australia on Monday by order of Israel's Supreme Court.
Malka Leifer is wanted on 74 charges of child sex abuse in Australia and had been fighting extradition since 2014. Her lawyer, Nick Kaufman, confirmed Monday she was placed on a flight several hours before Israel was to close its Ben Gurion International Airport to nearly all air traffic due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
Leifer is wanted by Australian police for sexual assault charges, including rape, involving girls at her former school, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish school in Melbourne. She has denied the charges.
Leifer, who also holds Israeli citizenship, fled Australia in 2008 after the accusations surfaced.
In an effort to avoid extradition, she claimed mental illness. But last year, an Israeli psychiatric panel determined Leifer was lying about her mental condition, setting in motion the extradition.
In December, the Supreme Court rejected a final appeal against her extradition, and Israel’s justice minister signed the order to send her to Australia.