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Polish court blocks push to extradite Polanski

Poland's Supreme Court has upheld a decision not to extradite famous filmmaker Roman Polanski to the US on charges of rape. The 83-year-old fled the US almost four decades ago, living in Europe ever since.

The three-judge-panel closed the case on Polanski's extradition on Tuesday, ending the legal saga against the dual French-Polish citizen.

A Krakow court decided against extraditing Polanski in 2015, but the prosecutors have since asked for this decision to be annulled, pressured by the right-wing PiS government.

"He's accused of and wanted for [...] a rape of a child," Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro  told Poland's state radio in May. "If he was just a regular guy, a teacher, doctor, plumber, decorator, then I'm sure he'd have been deported from any country to the US a long time ago."

On Tuesday, however, the Supreme Court deemed the prosecutors' demand "groundless."

Polanski did not attend the Tuesday hearing, local media reported.

Victim wants 'legal machine to stop'

Polanski was born in Paris in 1933 to Polish Jewish parents, and is a Holocaust survivor. He arrived in Hollywood in 1968.

The filmmaker is accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl after giving her champagne and a sleeping pill in 1977, when he was 43. The rape allegedly took place in the house of actor Jack Nicholson.

Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, or statutory rape, and served a short sentence. However, he fled the US in 1978, after a judge indicated that his plea bargain could be overruled and turned into a lengthy sentence.

He has never returned, not even to claim his Oscar for the his 2002 Holocaust epic "The Pianist."

His victim, Samantha Geimer, published a book on the rape in 2013. She claims she has forgiven the filmmaker and harbors no hate for him.

"My family never asked that Polanski be punished. We just wanted the legal machine to stop," she wrote.

Watch video 05:11

The Polanski controversy

dj/kms (dpa, AFP, Reuters, AP)

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