Polish prosecutors announced on Friday that they will not challenge a judge’s decision issued last month rejecting a U.S. request to extradite director Roman Polanski. The prosecutors in Krakow affirmed Judge Dariusz Mazur’s ruling, which blocked the request by U.S. authorities. At the time, Mazur stated, “I find no rational answer to the question: What is the real point of the U.S. extradition request?” Polanski is now free to reside and work in Poland, his birth country.
The decision closes the latest chapter on a case that began with the Oscar-winning director’s 1977 conviction on five charges stemming from having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. Polanski, 43 at the time, cut a plea deal and served 42 days in prison but fled the States on the eve of sentencing when it appeared the judge in the case had moved the legal goalposts in the case. The Chinatown director has been a fugitive from American justice ever since.
Polanski holds dual citizenship in Poland and France. While French law prohibits extradition of its citizens, Polish law does not. The latest attempts to have Polanski extradited were sparked in October last year, when U.S. officials asked Polish prosecutors to question the director while he was in the country. He was eventually released, but U.S. authorities filed a formal extradition request in January this year in Poland where Polanski was working on a film about the Dreyfus Affair.
This was the latest in a series of attempts to bring him back to America. In 2009, he was placed under house arrest in Switzerland while a similar extradition request was examined. He was released after 9 months.