Leifer refuses to appear before key psychiatric panel
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Leifer refuses to appear before key psychiatric panel

Malka Leifer will not appear before a court-ordered psychiatric panel to determine whether she is feigning mental illness in order to avoid extradition to Australia.

Former principal Malka Leifer, wanted in Australia for child sex abuse crimes, seen at the Jerusalem District Court, February 14, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)
Former principal Malka Leifer, wanted in Australia for child sex abuse crimes, seen at the Jerusalem District Court, February 14, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)

MALKA Leifer is refusing to cooperate with a psychiatric panel tasked with assessing if she is fit to face extradition.

In a letter to the court, Leifer’s lawyers Tal Gabay and Yehuda Fried said they could not allow their client to cooperate with a panel, which they had opposed from the start.

“Here we go again – more game playing and absolutely no attempt to even hide it,” alleged victim Dassi Erlich said.

If the case does move forward despite this latest manoeuvre and Leifer’s extradition is ordered, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, PM-candidate Benny Gantz and President Reuven Rivlin have all stated they will not use their veto to stop her facing an Australian court.

The assurances came as the Zionist Federation of Australia’s (ZFA) delegation of Australian politicians met the three leaders this week, and raised concerns about slow progress in the case. They discussed what happens if the psychiatric assessment takes place as planned, the court approves extradition, and the order reaches the government for approval.

The Justice Minister has the power to not sign, and did exactly this in a 1986 case. But Jeremy Leibler, president of the ZFA told The AJN that both Gantz and Netanyahu said that if they head the government, they will ensure this veto is not used.

The politicians’ assurances came in the same week that Gal Levertov, former chief of Israel’s extradition department, told The AJN that should the panel deem Leifer fit for trial, there will be next to nothing that her legal team can do to prevent extradition.

Related coverage: Leifer could be back mid-2020

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