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The United States has asked Switzerland to extradite film director Roman Polanski, so he can face court sentencing in California for having sex with a child in 1977.

The Swiss justice office said authorities in Zurich will hold a hearing to decide whether Polanski should be sent back to the United States. The justice office said the U.S. extradition request submitted Thursday indicates the Academy Award-winning director could serve up to two years in prison.

Swiss police arrested the 76-year-old Polanski in Zurich almost four weeks ago as he arrived to receive a film festival award.

Polanski fled the United States in 1978 after pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl. He was initially charged with six felonies, including rape and sodomy, before accepting the lesser charge of unlawful sex with a minor.

The director's lawyer says he will fight the U.S. request to extradite him.

If extradition is approved, Polanski can appeal the decision to Switzerland's top criminal court, and ultimately, to the federal supreme court.

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