Roman Polanski Faces New Polish Push for Extradition to U.S. on Rape Charges

Polish justice minister and chief prosecutor say October 2015 court ruling blocking extradition violated U.S.-Polish extradition agreements.

Reuters

Poland said it will initiate efforts to extradite Roman Polanski to the United States in an attempt to reverse a court ruling last year that said doing so would be “obviously unlawful.”

Polanski, who is Jewish, fled the U.S. nearly four decades ago after being convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl.

Justice Minister and chief prosecutor Zbigniew Ziobro said the October ruling in a Krakow court blocking Polanski’s extradition violated Poland’s extradition agreements with the U.S., and that he will appeal it to the Supreme Court, NBC reported Tuesday, citing European media.

Ziobro said he disagreed with the Krakow judge’s claim that Polanski had, in effect, already been punished. He criticized as “incomprehensible” the Krakow judge’s comments that Polanski would face inhumane treatment in the United States.

Polanski, who has French and Polish citizenship, lives in Paris, but has been in Poland for the past few months working on a film about the Dreyfus Affair, the anti-Semitic persecution of a French army officer said to have inspired Theodor Herzl’s support for Zionism. Last year, Polanski gave a lengthy interview to The Hollywood Reporter about his experiences as a child survivor of the Holocaust, including the loss of his mother at Auschwitz.

The director of films such as “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown” and “The Pianist” served half of a 90-day psychiatric evaluation in prison, fleeing before he was to be sentenced for the rest of his time. The U.S. has sought his extradition from France and Switzerland.

“I can breathe now with relief,” Polanski told reporters in November, according to The Associated Press. “I pleaded guilty. I went to prison. I have done my penalty. The case is closed.”