Roman Polanski Will Not Be Extradited to U.S., Polish Court Rules

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Poland turns down US request to extradite Roman Polanski.

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. 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. His current whereabouts are unclear, although earlier Friday there were unconfirmed reports that he had boarded a flight to Paris shortly before the court ruling was announced. Polanski served 42 days in jail as part of his 90-day plea bargain, but, on release before final sentencing, he fled the country for France, believing that the judge hearing his case could overrule the deal and impose a longer prison sentence.

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. Polanski has been preparing a film he plans to shoot on location in Poland about Alfred Dreyfus, the 19th century Jewish French military officer whose trial and conviction in 1894 on charges of treason became a political drama until he was eventually exonerated.

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. Polish prosecutors have been cooperating with U.S authorities even though under Polish law the statute of limitations on the charges against Polanski long expired.

They had said that in the case the court ruled in favor of the extradition request, Poland’s justice minister would have to decide whether to approve it. The judge requested documentation from U.S. authorities and a Swiss court which, in a similar case in 2010, decided there was insufficient evidence to extradite the director.

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