A former Melbourne school principal, who is wanted in Victoria on 74 charges of child sexual abuse, is arrested by Israeli police who claim she faked mental illness to avoid extradition to Australia.

Israeli police have re-arrested Malka Leifer, the former Melbourne school principal who is wanted in Victoria on 74 charges of child sexual abuse, alleging she faked a mental illness in order to avoid extradition to Australia.

Ms Leifer is accused of sexually abusing several pupils while she was a teacher and principal at the ultra-orthodox Adass Israel girls school in Melbourne.

In 2008, when the allegations were first raised, Ms Leifer fled to Israel. She was then arrested by Israel police in 2014 when Australia filed a request for her extradition.

Ms Leifer was released on bail and managed to avoid every single one of her extradition hearings in the last three years, claiming she suffered from panic attacks and anxiety and was too unwell to face the court.

Two weeks ago, she again claimed mental illness during her most recent appearance before a psychiatric review board.

But Israeli police have now revealed that they had been conducting a secret undercover investigation into Ms Leifer’s claims of mental illness.

In a statement after her arrest at a settlement in the occupied West Bank on Monday morning, Israeli police said they arrested a female in her 50’s “suspected of obstructing court proceedings and attempting to hide evidence of a case”.

The police statement said that “during 2017 there were indications that the suspect was pretending to be suffering from mental illness in order to avoid the extradition process and as a result, the police opened again an investigation that led to her arrest this morning”.

Israeli police say the undercover investigation began following an Interpol request and that “during the investigation evidence was gathered against the suspect”.

[Read the full story on NZCity or Times of Israel. Full background of case on Wikipedia.]

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