Israeli police on Tuesday recommended criminal charges against Deputy Health Minister Yaacov Litzman for obstructing justice in a probe into an alleged sex offender from Australia.

Litzman is accused of helping the woman escape extradition to Australia by influencing the professional opinions of court-appointed Health Ministry psychiatrists in labeling her mentally unfit.

The woman is wanted for 74 incidents of sexual assault and rape while she was a teacher and principal at a Melbourne Jewish school during the early mid-2000s.

Police said they had sufficient evidence to charge him with witness tampering, bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Read more: Is Israel ready for fundamental political change?

Yaacov Litzman

Litzman leads the ultra-Orthodox Agudat Yisrael party, which forms part of the United Torah Judaism alliance

‘Oppose the protection of child rapists’

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Litzman had acted “for the sake of citizens, with complete transparency and according to the law.”

However, victim support groups have called on the government to remove Litzman from office. Jewish Community Watch director Meyer Seewald urged Netanyahu to take decisive action in comments reported by Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

“We expect all coalition partners who oppose the protection of child rapists to immediately condemn Litzman,” Seewald said.

Litzman’s United Torah Judaism party is considered a crucial ally for Netanyahu ahead of parliamentary elections slated for September.

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ls/rt (dpa, AP)


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