Entertainment & Arts

Roman Polanski freed in Poland after US extradition bid

Roman Polanski Image copyright EPA
Image caption Roman Polanski was attending the opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Film director Roman Polanski has been released after being questioned by prosecutors in Poland over sex offences in the US.

He has been wanted by US police since 1977, when he fled the country after being charged with having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

US authorities contacted Polish officials as Polanski attended the opening of a Jewish museum in Warsaw.

The director of The Pianist and Chinatown was questioned in Krakow.

"Roman Polanski said he would comply with all requests made by prosecutors in this case and provided his address," Police justice ministry spokesman Mateusz Martyniuk told AFP.

"Prosecutors therefore decided not to arrest him in connection with a possible US extradition request."

The Polish government confirmed that the US had contacted authorities asking them to arrest Polanski after he travelled to Warsaw for the opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Mr Martyniuk said Polanski's extradition was still possible, but as the US had not yet forwarded an extradition request, Polanski "is a free citizen and is free to travel".

Image copyright AP
Image caption Polanski opened a stage version of his 1967 film The Fearless Vampire Killers in Paris earlier this month

The Rosemary's Baby director was held in Switzerland in 2009 after travelling to Zurich to pick up a prize at a film festival.

However, the extradition bid failed and he was eventually allowed to return to France.

He has been to Poland several times in recent years and was pictured on television at the opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

In 2010, the Polish prosecutor general said Polanski could not be extradited because under Polish law too much time had passed since the offences.

Polanski was originally charged with six offences including rape and sodomy in 1977. He pleaded guilty to unlawful sex following a plea bargain and served 42 days in a US prison undergoing psychiatric tests.

But, believing the judge was going to renege on the deal and extend his sentence, he chose to jump bail in 1978, fleeing the US to Britain, and then to France.

Last year his victim, Samantha Geimer, now 51, published her account of what happened in a book called The Girl: A Life Lived in the Shadow of Roman Polanski.

Polanski is currently directing a stage show in Paris based on his 1967 film The Fearless Vampire Killers, but has said he wants to shoot a film on location in Poland on the condition he will not face extradition.

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