Dassi Erlich, one of the three sisters allegedly abused by Malka Leifer in Australia, has called on the government to expedite the extradition process given the many more months the proceedings are likely to take.
She also protested against the testimony given by a psychiatrist to the Jerusalem District Court in an extradition hearing on Wednesday claiming she is mentally unfit for extradition, due to his previous public comments declaring Leifer to be innocent.
Leifer is standing trial for extradition on 74 counts sexual abuse in Australia against sisters Dassi Erlich, Ellie Sapper and Nicole Meyer, but has for many years claimed to be mentally unfit for extradition.
The court has set another two hearings at the end of March and in April to hear from other psychiatrists about Leifer’s mental fitness for extradition, and a third witness may also testify in another hearing in May.
At least one hearing, and likely more, will be set to allow the defense attorney’s to cross-examine a private investigator who uncovered evidence that Leifer was living a normal life in her town of Emanuel despite her claims to be mentally unwell.
The extradition hearings are likely therefore to extend well into the second half of 2019 – having been initiated in 2014 – some six years after Leifer fled Australia because of the sexual abuse charges
““Leifer’s defense are promising to stretch this out as long as possible, and I hope Israel realizes that Leifer’s defense are playing games and that they therefore expedite the case,” Erlich told The Jerusalem Post
“We call on the Israeli government to stop pandering to these games and ensure justice happens in this case.”
Erlich also called on Deputy Health Minister Yaacov Litzman to resign over his alleged interference in extradition proceedings, and his alleged efforts to prevent Leifer from being deported.
Litzman, who is now under police investigation, allegedly threatened to fire health ministry officials if they did not produce a psychiatric evaluation declaring Leifer to be unfit for extradition.
Litzman has denied any wrongdoing.
“We feel angry and betrayed, he [Litzman] has allegedly had a hand in preventing justice and has played around with our lives,” said Erlich.
“We have been waiting for this for such a long time and allegedly some of that is his fault.”
Erlich said insisted that Litzman should step down owing to his “position of influence” as deputy health minister over Leifer’s case and over similar such cases.
“He should absolutely resign,” she said.
As the hearing was underway, several dozen demonstrators, including, Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, staged a protest outside the court to express support for Erlich and her sisters and to condemn the lengthy delays and alleged corruption in the handling of extradition proceedings to Australia.
“Litzman needs to resign. This is a man who is hugging sex offenders and protecting pedophiles. Why? Because the name of his group is more important than the people of his group. This is a warped situation,” declared Hassan-Nahoum.
Erlich and her sister Nicole Meyer joined the protest after the hearing and spoke out in particular against the psychiatrist who gave testimony supporting Leifer’s claim that she is not mentally fit for extradition.
“A series of Facebook posts was found under his name stating his personal opinions about Malka Leifer and us the victims, that he doesn’t believe us, that we’re not religious enough, and therefore we don’t deserve justice,” said Meyer.
“No credibility should be given to the report he wrote in 2015 after observing Malka Leifer for a number of hours,” she added.
First reported by the Australian Jewish News
, the psychiatrist in question is Dr. Brian Trappler of New York who stated on Facebook in 2017 that he believed Leifer to be innocent and opined that he believed this to be the case because protesters against her did not appear to be religious.
“She never committed the crimes she was accused of,” he stated on Facebook, adding “Just looking at their pictures and listening to their comments should give you an idea that this is not a Heimeshe or haredi crowd.”
In 2004, Trappler had his medical license suspended for one month and was fined $50,000 by New York State for filing false documents to dodge paying parking tickets.
Speaking at the demonstration, Manny Waks – director of the Kol V’Oz organization – said that Trappler’s testimony was tainted and should be dismissed.
“Today’s hearing should’ve lasted no more than a few minutes – the prosecution should’ve presented the judge with Dr. Trappler’s previous absurd public statements regarding this case and the judge should’ve dismissed Dr. Trappler as a witness,” said Waks.
“Dr. Trappler has absolutely no credibility as a witness.”
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