A Polish court has begun considering arguments in the extradition case of Oscar-winning film director Roman Polanski. The filmmaker is wanted in the United States over a guilty verdict in a 1977 statutory rape case.
Famed filmmaker Roman Polanski appeared in court in his hometown of Krakow on Wednesday to testify in an extradition hearing. The proceedings were closed to the public and a verdict was not expected Wednesday.
Judge Dariusz Mazu heard statements from the defense and prosecution on Wednesday. Polanski's lawyers have petitioned the judge to consider a 2010 ruling in Switzerland, which saw a Zurich court refuse to hand Polanski over to US authorities. The ruling came after the French-Polish citizen had been held for 290 days under house arrest.
In 1997, Polanski pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old model at a photo shoot in Los Angeles. He was 43 at the time of the incident. After serving 42 days in jail as part of a 90-day plea bargain, Polanski fled to France, where he holds dual citizenship, out of fear of that the judge hearing the case would serve him a harsher sentence.
The Krakow court adjourned shortly before noon local time (1100UTC) on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear when proceedings would resume.
If the court in Krakow approves the US extradition request, Polanski's case will then be brought before Poland's justice minister. However, if Krakow refuses to hand over the 81-year-old defendant, the case will be closed.
In the years since fleeing US authorities, Polanski has continued to make films. His work has brought him numerous awards, including the Oscar for best director for his 2002 film "The Pianist." He is currently in Poland to begin work on a new film.
Polanski attempted to have the case dismissed in December. The Los Angeles court ruled against him, saying that he should return to California to address his claims.
kms/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters)