Entertainment & Arts

Roman Polanski to attend extradition hearing

Roman Polanski Image copyright AFP
Image caption Polanski's films include Rosemary's Baby and The Pianist

Film director Roman Polanski is to attend an extradition hearing in court after the US lodged a request with Poland to have him brought back.

Polish-born Polanski 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.

He has been working in Poland to prepare for a film he wants to shoot later this year.

The hearing will take place in Krakow on 25 February.

Even if the court rules Polanski should be extradited, the justice minister can approve or reject the decision.

His lawyer Jan Olszewski confirmed his client would be there. Polanski, 81, is currently in Poland preparing to make a film.

Six offences

Prosecutors in Poland refused a US request to arrest him in October but see no legal obstacles to the extradition.

If the Polish court agrees to the extradition, a final decision would be taken by the Polish justice minister.

BBC Warsaw Correspondent Adam Easton said it appears unlikely Poland would allow Polanski to be extradited, where he is viewed by many as one of the country's greatest living artists.

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 his home in France.

He has been to Poland several times in recent years.

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 skip bail in 1978, fleeing the US to Britain, and then to France.

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