Polish court rejects US request to extradite Polanski for 1977 child sex crime

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Court refuses to extradite Polanski.

WARSAW, Poland – A court in Poland ruled Friday that the law forbids the extradition of filmmaker Roman Polanski to the U.S., where he pleaded guilty nearly four decades ago to having sex with a minor. A Polish court on Friday rejected a U.S. request to extradite film-maker Roman Polanski over a 1977 child sex conviction, saying his extradition was inadmissible because the U.S. judiciary had repeatedly violated his rights.

But an appeal — if successful — could make an extradition likely, because the new Law and Justice party government to be installed in November has indicated there would be no leniency for Polanski, as it makes a point of applying laws strictly and equally to all. Judge Dariusz Mazur said the case is very complicated but an extradition procedure would violate the human rights of the 83-year-old Polanski because he could be subjected to confinement.

The decision in favour of the 82-year-old director of The Pianist, Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby can still be appealed, court spokeswoman Beata Gorszczyk said earlier on Friday. “The case would then be sent to a higher court, which could uphold the regional court’s decision, overturn it or send it back for retrial,” she told AFP. If the Polish prosecutor’s office — which is representing the US side — decides to appeal and the extradition is ultimately cleared at the court level, then Poland’s justice ministry would still have the final say. He fled the United States the following year to Britain and then to France, believing the judge hearing his case could overrule the deal and put him in jail for years.

We can’t shield anyone from taking responsibility for an act as despicable as abusing a minor.” Mr Kaczynski himself said earlier this month that he “rejected the idea of pardoning someone simply because he is an eminent, world-renowned director.” The Polish court has been involved in the case since the US attempted to have Polanski arrested when he was in Warsaw for the opening of a Jewish museum in October 2014. Lawyers have said they understood from a private conversation with the judge that the time in prison would be Polanski’s punishment, but they said the judge later suggested Polanski would go back to prison, at which point he fled to France. He won an Academy Award for best director for his 2002 film “The Pianist” and was nominated for 1974’s “Chinatown” and 1979’s “Tess.” Polanski’s movements are restricted by an Interpol warrant in effect in 188 countries, but he is avoiding extradition by remaining only in France, Poland and Switzerland. Polanski is himself of Jewish heritage and was eight when the Nazis arrested his parents, forcing him into years of wandering that lent autobiographical authenticity to The Pianist, the tale of a young Jewish man evading the Nazis in occupied Warsaw. Geimer wrote a book about her encounter with Polanski in 2013, in which she said she was made to drink champagne and was given a sleeping pill before being raped by Polanski in the house of actor Jack Nicholson.

But the Polish judge Mazur said Polanski’s right for fair trial and right of defense were “grossly and repeatedly violated” over the years by several U.S. judges and prosecutors, including when the first bargain deal was annulled. But he said the time the Polish-born director had his freedoms restricted in various proceedings amounted to about a year-long jail term, way more than had been agreed under the first plea bargain.

Polanski’s U.S.-based lawyer Chad Hummel on Friday declined to comment on the Polish decision and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, which has long sought to bring the film maker to justice, could not immediately be reached. Geimer, now in her 50s and living in Hawaii, said in a series of posts on her Facebook page ahead of the Polish ruling that Los Angeles prosecutors should abandon their efforts. “The message is they will use a teenage rape victim until their dying breath to get some PR, and justice is NOT something they seek for victims… If they were smart, they’d stop trying to bring him back,” she wrote.

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