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Polish Court Rejects U.S. Extradition Request For Polanski

Responding to a U.S. request to turn over film director Roman Polanski to answer charges that he had sex with a minor in 1977, a court in Krakow, Poland, has denied the request. The court held months of hearings over the request; its decision could still be overturned.

The judge in the case, Dariusz Mazur, said the U.S. request wasn't admissible under Polish law. Polanski, 82, has both French and Polish citizenship.

The ruling is subject to appeal. Noting that the minister of justice has the power to overturn the decision, Radio Poland reports, "The socially conservative Law and Justice party, which won Sunday's general election after eight years out of power, has given every indication that it will oppose today's ruling."

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports:

"The Oscar-winning director, who is in Poland shooting a movie, did not appear in court. He pleaded guilty in 1977 to one count of statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl during a photo shoot in Los Angeles.

"Polanski was ordered to undergo a psychiatric study at a state prison where he served 42 days. His lawyers say they that amounted to him serving his sentence. Polanski fled to France after it appeared he might be sent back to prison."

Citing local reports, Radio Poland says Polanski is said to have left Poland today on a private jet bound for France, departing just one hour before the ruling was announced.

In the 1977 attack, Polanski, then 43, gave champagne and Quaaludes to Samantha Gailey, who was then an aspiring actress, before raping her.

In 2009, Polanski sent Gailey a note in which he apologized and said, "I hope the pressure of the media has alleviated and that your family brings you much happiness."

Back in 2013, Gailey told NPR, "It's a strange thing to be tied to him in this weird way. That's obviously not going to stop. I'm done wishing it would be over. It is the way it is."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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