Roman Polanski Faces New Extradition Push by Polish Government

  • Famous director enjoys ‘double standard,’ Polish Minister Says
  • U.S. seeking to extradite Oscar-winner since he fled in 1977

Poland’s government is seeking to overturn a court decision blocking U.S. requests to extradite Oscar-winning film director Roman Polanski, potentially opening a new chapter in his multiple-decade effort to avoid sexual abuse charges.

Justice Minister and Chief Prosecutor Zbigniew Ziobro said he appealed a Krakow court ruling from last year on the grounds that it breached an extradition agreement between the two countries. Polanski, whose films include “The Pianist,” “Chinatown,” and “Rosemary’s Baby,” was charged on six felony counts alleging he drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl in the Los Angeles area in 1977.

Polanski, now 82, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and served 42 days in jail before fleeing the U.S. nearly four decades ago, concerned that his plea bargain agreement would be overturned. U.S. authorities have repeatedly sought to extradite the director since, losing bids in Poland as well as in Switzerland. The Krakow court on Oct. 30 rejected the latest U.S. request, saying the Holocaust survivor, who holds Polish and French passports, had paid for his wrongdoing and may not get a fair trial if extradited.

“He shouldn’t be treated any differently than an ordinary person, such as a plumber or a painter, just because he’s famous,” Ziobro told Polish Public Radio 1. “I can’t accept this double standard.”

The new push from Ziobro isn’t a surprise, given his previous comments on the director, Polanski’s lawyer, Jan Olszewski, told TVN24 television Tuesday. “But his judgment will be verified by the highest court,” Olszewski said.

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