Roman Polanski is once again fighting extradition to the United States, where he pleaded guilty in 1977 to drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl. Polanski fled the United States after serving 42 days in jail, which his lawyers now argue should count as having done his time.
Polanski, who was born in Poland, holds joint French and Polish citizenship. He’s seeking to make a movie in his home country about Captain Alfred Dreyfus, the Jewish French artillery officer falsely accused of espionage. However, he’d like assurances that Poland won’t arrest or extradite him to the U.S. while he’s there to face charges for the rape of Samantha Gailey (now Samantha Geimer). The U.S. officially requested that Poland hand over the director in January of this year. (Polanski lives in Paris; even if the request was granted, he wouldn’t actually have to return to the U.S.)
The Hollywood Reporter says that according to Polish radio reports, Polanski’s lawyers stressed that 42 days he spent in jail, and the fact that he pled guilty. Polanski fled the United States after a plea deal he’d made with the judge was leaked to the press and he feared it wouldn’t be honored. But his lawyers, the Reporter says, argued that his jail stint meant “that justice had long been served.”
A district court in Krakow initially said it would rule on the matter on Tuesday, September 22, but said Tuesday morning that it will not rule until October 30.
It seems unlikely that Poland will grant the extradition request. Swiss authorities declined a similar request from the U.S. in 2010, and the same year, Poland’s prosecutor general said the statute of limitations had passed under Polish law to prosecute him, and Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz added, “I think that Polish citizens, especially in cases of crimes whose statute of limitations have run out, should not be subject to extradition.”
The U.S. also generated a considerable amount of anger at the time for demanding that Poland arrest Polanski at a Holocaust memorial event; his mother died in Auschwitz.
Polanski settled a civil lawsuit with his victim in 1988. Geimer has become an advocate for rape survivors and wrote a memoir about her experiences, in which she said she is fine and she would very much like to be left alone.
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Polanski at a February hearing in Krakow district court on the extradition request. Photo via AP Images