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Polanski to attend a hearing over his extradition in Poland

2015-02-18 15:29

Warsaw - Roman Polanski will attend a Polish court hearing over a US request for his extradition over a 1977 sex crime, one of the filmmaker's lawyers said on Tuesday.

Grazyna Rokita, spokeswoman for the regional court in Polanski's childhood city of Krakow, said that the court will hear the case on 25 February.

Polanski's lawyer Jan Olszewski told The Associated Press that the 81-year-old director "will be in court, in line with his previous statements" to make the necessary explanations.

Polanski's lawyers are to request the hearing be held behind closed doors, Olszewski added. He said the case will take more than one hearing, and refused to speculate when the court may make its decision.

Born to Polish-Jewish parents, the Oscar-winning director whose works include The Pianist and Chinatown, is a celebrity in Poland.

Krakow prosecutors refused a request from US justice authorities last year to arrest Polanski, who is in Poland preparing to make a film about Alfred Dreyfus, a 19th century French army officer wrongly accused of spying.

However, prosecutors said there were no legal obstacles to the extradition, and have asked the court for a ruling. Polanski has French and Polish passports.

The director's movements are restricted by an Interpol warrant in effect in 188 countries. He avoids extradition by traveling only between France, Poland and Switzerland, which recently refused to hand him over.

In 1977, Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. He served 42 days in jail as part of a plea bargain but fled the United States on the eve of his sentencing the next year.

Even if the court rules that Polanski should be extradited, the justice minister can approve or reject the decision.

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