Poland reopens extradition procedure against filmmaker Roman Polanski | Film | DW | 31.05.2016
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Poland reopens extradition procedure against filmmaker Roman Polanski

Poland's new government wants to appeal a 2015 decision by a Krakow court that ruled a US request to extradite filmmaker Roman Polanski "inadmissible." The 82-year-old Oscar winner has been living in exile since 1978.

Filmmaker Roman Polanski has stayed out of the US ever since a 1977 child sex conviction in Los Angeles, when he pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl during a photo shoot. He served a short sentence in jail after a plea bargain but fled the country soon afterwards, fearing his plea bargain could be overruled and turned into a hefty sentence.

He has been living in France ever since, where his French citizenship protects him from extradition.

After Polanski began spending time in Poland in 2014, the US requested his extradition from the country.

Although a Krakow court decided against it late last year, Poland's new Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said Tuesday that he would appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn the previous decision, claiming Polanski's celebrity status had helped him escape justice.

'Not surprised' by decision

"He's accused of and wanted for [...] a rape of a child," Ziobro told Poland's state radio. "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."

Polanski's lawyer Jan Olszewski said in a TV interview that he was "not surprised" by the justice minister's decision, given Ziobro's staunchly conservative views.

Samantha Geimer, the victim in the 1977 case, has already made it clear that she felt Polanski's long exile was punishment enough.

eg/cmk (Reuters, AFP, dpa)