Roman Polanski cannot be extradited to U.S., Polish court rules

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Filmmaker Roman Polanski cannot be extradited over a 1977 sex crime conviction in the United States, a Polish court ruled.

The decision announced Friday ends a decades-long quest by the United States for Polanski to serve out his prison term.

Polanski, 81, the son of Polish Jews and a Holocaust survivor, is a Polish citizen. He currently resides in Paris, but is filming a movie in Poland.

He fled to France in 1978 after pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, a 13-year-old girl, during a photo shoot. He served half of a 90-day psychiatric evaluation in prison and fled before he was to be sentenced for the rest of his time. The U.S. has sought his extradition from France and Switzerland.

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“I can breathe now with relief,” Polanski, 82, told reporters in Krakow, where the case was heard, according to The Associated Press. “I pleaded guilty. I went to prison. I have done my penalty. The case is closed.”

In October 2014, Polish authorities refused a U.S. request to arrest Polanski, whose lawyers subsequently asked for a new hearing in the United States in an attempt to have the charges dropped. A California judge refused the request.

Judges and prosecutors in the case have insisted repeatedly that Polanski return to the United States for any rehearing of the case, a demand that Polanski has long resisted.

His film in Poland, to be shot in the coming months, is about the Dreyfus affair involving a Jewish army officer in France and anti-Semitism in the late 19th and early 20th century.

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