Malka Leifer case: Dozens more charges approved by Sa'ar

Australian legal officials sought the minister’s approval to add another 20 counts of sexual abuse to Leifer’s indictment after the additional incidents came to light.

Malka Leifer (photo credit: MAARIV/AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Malka Leifer
(photo credit: MAARIV/AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Israel’s Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar has agreed to the addition of 20 charges of severe sexual assault against alleged pedophile Malka Leifer, as requested by Australian legal officials.

Leifer was extradited to Australia earlier this year to face charges on some 70 counts of sexual abuse and rape of minors who were her pupils in the Adas Israel high school in Melbourne where she served as principal from 2000 to 2008.

She fled to Israel in 2008 to evade Australian law enforcement but after tortuous legal proceedings was finally extradited back to Australia in January this year, and was formally indicted by the Melbourne Magistrates Court last week

According to a statement from Sa’ar’s office on Thursday, Australian legal officials sought the minister’s approval to add another 20 counts of sexual abuse to Leifer’s indictment after the additional incidents came to light during the Melbourne court’s proceedings.

Sa’ar’s office said the new charges had emerged “in the framework of new information of two of the three complainants who described additional, severe sexual incidents” which they had not previously mentioned and had only mentioned recently “in the framework of mental health treatment which allowed them to speak more freely about Malka Leifer’s deeds and to thereby expose additional incidents which were not originally included.”

New Hope leader Gideon Sa'ar. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)New Hope leader Gideon Sa'ar. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

After reviewing the request, and following professional legal advice, Sa’ar approved the request “in accordance with clause 17 of the extradition law which allows charges to be broadened against an extradited individual after they have been extradited to the requesting country” the minister’s office said.