US authorities demand extradition of Polanski
US authorities are demanding the extradition of Roman Polanski to face trial for charges filed against him in 1978. If local authorities agree, he will be ordered back to the U.S., but his attorneys say Polanski will appeal the extradition to the Swiss criminal court or to the US Supreme court.
PARIS — American authorities formally demanded the extradition ofRoman Polanski late Thursday, setting in motion the next legal struggle for the Oscar-winning film director over his flight in 1978 from sentencing for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.
The American Embassy in Bern submitted the request on Thursday to the Federal Office of Justice in Switzerland, where Mr. Polanski has been imprisoned since his arrest on September 26 at Zurich airport. With that paperwork filed, Swiss authorities will now forward the demand to the Canton of Zurich to hold a hearing on the issue, according to a statement from the Swiss federal office.
If the local authorities order extradition, Mr. Polanski , who holds French and Polish citizenship, can still appeal the decision to the Swiss Federal Criminal Court and the Federal Supreme Court.
Both of Mr. Polanski’s French lawyers, Georges Kiejman and Hervé Temime, had expected the extradition request to be filed before November. They say that Mr. Polanski could end up sitting in the Swiss jail for six months or more while the appeals process runs its course.
With the specter of a lengthy extradition fight, Mr. Kiejman said on Wednesday that all options are open, including the possibility that Mr. Polanski would agree to return, although both he and Mr. Temime say the director plans to fight the extradition demand.
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