Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Roman Polanski's Extradition Blocked By Polish Supreme Court

Roman Polanski

The conservative ruling party had asked the Supreme Court to overturn an earlier ruling by a the Krakow District Court last year blocking his extradition.

Polanski has been evading US legal attempts to extradite him since he admitted having sex with the minor Samantha Geimer, during a ­photoshoot at a Los Angeles party in the late 1970s. After serving 42 days in prison on a plea bargain, he fled to France fearing a full prison sentence could be imposed. He continues to work in the film industry but a warrant for his arrest is in effect in 188 countries.

One of Polanski’s lawyers, Jan Olszewski, said of the latest legal development: “He is beyond happy that this is finally over. At least in Poland.”

The controversial director lives in France to avoid extradition but had moved to Poland in 2014 to start shooting a new film about the Dreyfus Affair based on Robert Harris’ novel An Officer and a Spy. The US government seized the opportunity to start legal proceedings to return him to America to face prosecution, after asking local authorities to detain the fugitive while he was opening a Polish Holocaust museum in Krakow.

Polish authorities blasted the US government for the time and place of the action, claiming they had disrespected Polish Jewish history and pointing out that Polanski himself was a Holocaust survivor.

Polanski, whose wife Sharon Tate was famously murdered by the Manson family, voluntarily turned himself in on October 30, 2014.

At the time, Polanski, who had been invited to Krakow by the Polish Ministry of Culture, told reporters: "I know that an extradition request has come and of course I will undergo the procedure and we will see. I trust the Polish judiciary system. I hope everything will be all right."

In October last year, a Polish court ruled against extradition but in May this year, Zbigniew Ziobro, the Polish Justice Minister and Prosecutor General, asked the Supreme Court to overrule the original verdict.

Polanski was not required to attend court during the latest round of legal proceedings but his lawyers said that he had expressed his relief at the latest ruling.

Jan Olszewski added: “We are very happy that the case is finally over.

"We hope that this ruling becomes a stimulus for the American side to perhaps use existing legal opportunities to issue a ruling in absentia and consider the penalty served.”

The 83-year-old is currently shooting a film in France but holds dual citizenship and is now free to live and work in Poland.

He avoided a similar situation in Switzerland when he was arrested in Zurich in 2009 on a US warrant and placed under house arrest, but Swiss authorities also decided not to extradite him.



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