Polish court hears Roman Polanski extradition case

Roman Polanski in Poland Image copyright AP
Image caption Roman Polanski, pictured at the court in Krakow with his lawyers, says he does not expect to be extradited

Filmmaker Roman Polanski has appeared in a Polish court in connection with a request to extradite him to the US on charges of sex with a 13-year-old girl.

The Oscar-winning director fled the US in 1978 before he could be sentenced for the crime. He now lives in France.

His recent stays in Poland triggered the extradition request from the US. A decision is not expected before April.

Polanski's lawyer says the director wants to clarify his status before he starts filming in Poland this summer.

The hearing at the court in Krakow was taking place behind closed doors.

Judge Dariusz Mazur, quoted by the AFP news agency, said it was unlikely that a decision on the extradition request would be made on Wednesday.

A further hearing has been scheduled for April. If the court decides to approve the request, the case will be passed to Poland's justice minister.

Rape charge

Polanski, 81, has said he does not expect to be extradited. Many in Poland also believe the authorities will be reluctant to agree to the request, according to the BBC's Adam Easton in Warsaw.

Swiss authorities turned down a US extradition warrant in 2010, after he had been placed under house arrest for nine months.

Timeline: Roman Polanski and the law

Image copyright AP

1977: Polanski is charged in the US with the rape of a 13-year-old girl. He also faces charges of sodomy, child molestation and giving drugs to a minor.

1978: Fearing that he may face a lengthy jail term, Polanski flees to the UK and then to France. A citizen of France, he is protected by the country's limited extradition with the US.

2009: The US rejects Polanski's request for the case against him to be dismissed. On a visit to Switzerland later that year, he is at first imprisoned and then placed under house arrest, as the authorities consider a US extradition request.

2010: Swiss authorities decide against extraditing Polanski, freeing him from house arrest.

2014: Polanski is questioned by prosecutors in Poland, acting on a US request. He agrees to comply with the Polish justice system as it examines the matter.

The director, who grew up in Poland and began his career there, is regarded as one of the country's greatest living artists.

He survived World War Two in the Krakow ghetto but his mother was murdered at Auschwitz.

He is believed to be planning to film a spy thriller in Poland based on the case of Alfred Dreyfus, a 19th-Century French officer whose treason conviction became a symbol of injustice and anti-Semitism.

The director has made several films regarded as classics, including Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, The Pianist and Repulsion.

He has admitted he had sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977, while he was living in the US.

After a plea bargain, he served 42 days in a US prison undergoing psychiatric tests.

But he then fled the US in 1978 on the eve of sentencing, believing the judge was going to give him a lengthy jail term.

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