Police officials in Israel are said to be preparing to recommend an indictment for United Torah Judaism party chairman and Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman on charges that he used his office to illicitly provide assistance to alleged sex offenders, according to a report released Friday by the Kan public broadcaster.
By: Kurt Mulgrew
One case reportedly involves Malka Leifer, a former ultra-Orthodox girls’ school principal charged in Australia with 74 counts of child sex abuse, according to the Times of Israel. “The police announced in February that they were investigating Litzman on suspicion that he pressured employees in his office to change the conclusions of their psychiatric evaluations to deem Leifer unfit for extradition,” it reported.
Another case has Litzman accused of aiding other alleged sexual predators in a manner that was against the law, Kan reported.
Litzman has claimed he did nothing wrong, but merely followed her policy of responding to those in need of assistance.
“The deputy minister is also being probed in a third case, but the likelihood of him being charged appears slim, according to the public broadcaster. It gave no details on the case,” the Times added.
The news site theyeshivaworld.com has reported that Litzman had reportedly been “playing a key role in preventing her extradition to Australia, including efforts to obtain an expert opinion that she is mentally unfit for extradition. This case against him states he exceeded and abused his authority with his involvement in the case of Laufer, and had no right to act as he did, to block the indictment of a suspect wanted by authorities in another country.”
According to i24news.tv, Litzman is suspected of “having organized for a panel of experts to issue a psychiatric opinion that would have allowed Malka Leifer, an ultra-Orthodox woman facing 74 charges of sexual abuse against minors in Australia, to evade justice by declaring her unfit for trial.”
Just weeks ago, Litzman addressed the crisis in coalition negotiations over the issue of the Draft Law. According to israelnationalnews.com, he “made it clear that he is not prepared to compromise on the issue of the law and will not hesitate to go back to elections over it. “I hope we will receive 10 seats,” he said. “Why give up, maybe someone else should give up? Be flexible? I have 20 Knesset seats together with my colleagues, someone else has less.”
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