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Polish Justice Minister Revives Polanski Extradition Drive

  • VOA News

FILE - Roman Polanski enters a courtroom as he arrives at the regional court in his childhood city of Krakow, Poland, Feb. 25, 2015.

FILE - Roman Polanski enters a courtroom as he arrives at the regional court in his childhood city of Krakow, Poland, Feb. 25, 2015.

Poland has launched a new bid to extradite filmmaker Roman Polanski to the United States where he is wanted for a 1977 child sex conviction.

Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro's said he has asked the Supreme Court to overturn an October ruling which forbid his extradition.

Ziobro, who also serves as Poland's chief prosecutor, argues that Polanski's celebrity status has shielded him from justice.

Polanski's lawyer Jan Olszewski said they had been expecting the attorney general to revive an effort to have him extradited, but says they are not worried.

"The Krakow's court decision is legally valid," said Olszewski. "Roman Polanski has no cause for concern."

Polanski pleaded guilty in 1977 to having sex with a 13-year-old girl during a photoshoot in Los Angeles fueled by champagne and drugs.

He served 42 days in jail as part of a 90-day sentence he received in a plea-bargain deal. He fled the United States the following year, believing the judge hearing his case could overrule the deal and put him in jail for years.

The U.S. has since been seeking to bring Polanski back and put him before a court.

In 2009, Polanski was arrested in the Swiss city of Zurich on a U.S. warrant and placed under house arrest. He was freed in 2010 after Swiss authorities decided not to extradite him.

Last year, a Krakow judge ruled that Polanski's extradition order was inadmissible, arguing that the U.S. trial was not fair and that Polanski would not face a fair trial there.

The Krakow prosecutors said in a statement they agreed with the court's reasoning.

Polanski, 83, holds Polish and French citizenship, and is viewed by many Poles as one of their greatest living cultural figures. He currently lives in Paris but often visits Poland where he is preparing to shoot a film.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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