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Oscar-winning director won't be sent to the US to face sentence for statutory rape

Roman Polanski is still wanted in the United States for sentencing over the 1977 statutory rape of Samantha Gailey.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

POLAND’S SUPREME COURT has rejected a bid to extradite Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski to the United States, where he faces sentencing over a decades-old case of statutory rape.

The 83-year-old French-Polish national, who currently lives in France, did not attend the hearing and his lawyers testified in his place, local media reported.

Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro had appealed to the court in May to overturn a 2015 ruling against extraditing Polanski, saying no one should be above the law.

The Supreme Court “is dismissing the appeal,” said Judge Michal Laskowski, definitively ending Poland’s part in the 1977 case that continues in the United States.

The government move had appeared to be part of what the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) government, which took office a year ago, touts as a moral revolution in strongly Catholic Poland.

Polanski is still wanted in the United States for sentencing over the 1977 statutory rape of Samantha Gailey after a photo shoot in Los Angeles.

He was arrested after Gailey, now Geimer, accused him of forcing her to have sex after drugging her.

She was 13 at the time. Polanski was 43.

He pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, or statutory rape, avoiding a trial, but then fled the country fearing a hefty sentence.

‘Avoiding double standards’

The US filed an extradition request in January 2015.

In October 2015, a local court in the southern Polish city of Krakow ruled that Polanski should not be sent to the United States, a decision prosecutors agreed was “justified”.

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“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 at the time.

The Krakow court was fiercely critical of the original US investigation into the filmmaker’s case, saying US judges and prosecutors had flouted “the rules of a fair trial”.

Geimer published a book about her encounter with Polanski in 2013, saying she was made to drink champagne and given a sleeping pill before being raped by Polanski in the house of actor Jack Nicholson.

In her book, “The Girl: A Life Lived in the Shadow of Roman Polanski”, the mother-of-three said that she harbours no hate for Polanski and has forgiven him.

“My family never asked that Polanski be punished. We just wanted the legal machine to stop.”

- © AFP, 2016

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