Malka Leifer (2-R) is seen handcuffed while being brought to Jerusalem District court on February 14, 2018. The court ruled Tuesday she is mentally fit for extradition to Australia to face 74 counts of child sexual abuse. File photo by EPA-EFE
May 26 (UPI) -- A former school principal accused of sexually abusing three sisters in Australia is mentally fit to be extradited from Israeli to face charges, a Jerusalem Court ruled Tuesday.
The ruling in the Jerusalem District Court is a victory for Australian police, who have been trying to extradite alleged sex offender Malka Leifer to face trial on 74 counts of sexual abuse and rape of minors since 2014.
Leifer, 54, was headmistress of the ultraorthodox Adass Israel School in Melbourne between 2001 and 2008, when she returned to Israel, allegedly after learning the former students were planning to file criminal complaints against her.
Leifer has avoided extradition by claiming she is unfit to stand trial because she suffers from clinical depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, in 2018 a private investigator recorded her out shopping and apparently living a normal life.
Tuesday's hearing in Jerusalem was the 67th in the extradition case. It came four months after a panel of psychiatric experts told Judge Chana Miriam Lomp that Leifer understood the charges against her and is fit for extradition.
Her lawyers said they will appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court.
Dassi Erlich, who along with sisters Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper brought the charges against Leifer, reacted to the ruling on social media.
"This abusive woman has been exploiting Israeli courts for 6 years!" she wrote on Twitter. "Intentionally creating obstacles, endless vexatious arguments -- only lengthening our ongoing trauma! Too many emotions to process!!! This is huge!"