No Extradition to the United States from Poland for Roman Polanski

Roman_Polanski_2011_2On 30 October 2015, the Kraków District Court, in Poland, rejected an application by authorities in the United States for the extradition of the filmmaker, Roman Polanski, in connection with a sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl in 1977. A report is here.  A previous blog on the Polanski case is here.

Judgment, 30 October 2015

Judge Dariusz Mazur, sitting at the Kraków District Court, held that extradition of Mr Polanski would be an “obviously unlawful” deprivation of his liberty and that California would be unlikely to provide humane living conditions for the filmmaker, who is 82-years-old.

“The court’s assessment is that it would be clearly connected with unlawful deprivation of freedom, taking into account time needed to transfer the extradited person to United States, which is probably several months, at least several weeks, possibly in difficult and unsuitable conditions for an elderly person,” Judge Mazur ruled.

Judge Mazur said that while Mr. Polanski’s guilt was beyond doubt, the filmmaker was now leading “a normal life” with wife and children, and that his victim had forgiven him. He added that Mr Polanski’s right to a fair trial and right of defence had been “grossly and repeatedly violated” over the years by several US judges and prosecutors.

Reaction and Next Steps

Mr Polanski was not present in court to hear the decision, however, after the ruling he stated that he was “very happy” at the outcome. He praised the judge as “incredibly well-informed,” adding, “Frankly, I was moved.”

At a press conference, in response to a question of whether he thought that his battle to avoid extradition was over, Mr Polanski added: “I don’t know. I am tired. It takes so much time. I have lost so much time. At my age, a year is a long time.”

The complainant in Mr Polanski’s case, Samantha Geimer, has expressed support for the ruling. In an interview with NBC news, she stated, “I believe they did the right thing and made the right decision given all the facts”. “Since I’m well aware of how long this has been going on, I’m very pleased and happy,” she added.

The case was open to appeal, within a seven day deadline. “We will wait until we get the full decision in writing before deciding whether to appeal,” the regional prosecutor stated after the ruling. However, on 20 November 2015, Polish prosecutors announced that they would not be challenging the decision.

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