Polish prosecutors said Friday they would not appeal a court decision to extradite Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski to the United States to face sentencing for statutory rape.
The prosecutor’s office in the southern city of Krakow said the October 30 decision by a Krakow court “to refuse to hand Roman Polanski over to US authorities was justified”.
The decision “ends the legal proceedings” against the 82-year-old French-Polish director of “The Pianist”, “Chinatown” and “Rosemary’s Baby”, leaving him free to reside in Poland, one of his lawyer’s, Jerzy Stachowicz, told AFP.
For the court decision to take effect, Poland’s justice minister must now communicate it to US authorities.
Zbigniew Ziobro, justice minister in the country’s new conservative government, had previously spoken out in favour of extraditing Polanski over the 1977 rape of Samantha Geimer in Los Angeles.
Polanski’s lawyer brushed aside questions over what would happen if Ziobro did not confirm the Krakow court ruling, saying “if the minister respects the rules and procedures, he (Polanski) has no reason to worry”.
The judge presiding over the extradition hearing in Krakow was fiercely critical of the original US investigation into the case, saying the US judges and prosecutors had flouted “the rules of a fair trial”.
“Had Poland accepted the US extradition request, it would have violated the rights of Mr Polanski and at the same time the European Convention on Human Rights,” judge Dariusz Mazur said.
The United States filed its extradition request in January.
In February, Polanski testified for a marathon nine hours at the first closed-door extradition hearing.
He is wanted in the United States for sentencing over the rape of Samantha Geimer after a photo shoot in Los Angeles.
Geimer was 13 at the time. Polanski was 43.
He pleaded guilty at the time to unlawful sex with a minor, or statutory rape, avoiding a trial, but then fled the country fearing a hefty sentence. He now lives in France.