Israel court says woman can be extradited in child sex case

International

An Israeli court on Monday approved the extradition of a former teacher wanted in Australia on charges of child sex abuse, potentially paving the way for her to stand trial after a six-year legal battle.

Malka Leifer, a former educator who is accused of sexually abusing several former students, has been fighting extradition from Israel since 2014. Leifer maintains her innocence and the battle surrounding her extradition has strained relations between Israel and Australia.

Earlier this month, Israel's Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Leifer's attorney over a Jerusalem court's ruling that she was mentally fit to stand trial, saying it was “putting an end to the saga that has been drawn out for many years.”

On Monday, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that Leifer could be extradited to Australia to stand trial for 74 charges of child sex abuse. The formal extradition now requires an order by Israel's justice minister.

Leifer’s attorneys said they would appeal an extradition order to Israel’s Supreme Court, saying it would be a "political decision."

“For those who think that this chapter is now closed, I’m sorry, the process will still last quite a few months more,” said Nick Kaufman, one of Leifer’s defense lawyers.

Critics, including Leifer’s alleged victims, have accused Israeli authorities of dragging out the case for far too long.

State prosecutor Avital Ribner Oron said Leifer had made “every effort to avoid and delay the extradition proceedings” but that “today the court put an end to those efforts and declared her extraditable to Australia.”

The ruling “was an important decision for the rule of law, for international cooperation, and most importantly, to the victims of Malka Leifer’s crimes,” Oron said.

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A divorce in Ohio is filed when there is typically “fault” by one of the parties and party not at “fault” seeks to end the marriage. A court in Ohio may grant a divorce for the following reasons:
• Willful absence of the adverse party for one year
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