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article imagePolanski extradition ruling likely on October 30

By AFP     Sep 22, 2015 in World

A Polish court will probably decide on October 30 whether to extradite Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski to the United States to face charges of raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977, his lawyer said Tuesday.

"We're almost there. There's a good chance it will happen then. The judge mentioned it himself," Polanski's lawyer Jerzy Stachowicz told AFP.

The 82-year-old French-Polish fugitive was in court on Tuesday as his legal team presented new documents, expert analyses and witness statements from Polanski's earlier trials in the United States and Switzerland.

The United States filed the extradition request in January. The director of "The Pianist", "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby" faces sentencing there for raping Samantha Geimer after a photo shoot in Los Angeles when he 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.

US officials have regularly pressed for his extradition, to no avail.

The US attempted to have Polanski arrested when he travelled to Warsaw for the opening of a Jewish museum in October 2014.

Polanski has said he doubts the extradition bid will be honoured but added he will comply with the legal proceedings in the southern city of Krakow.

He testified for a marathon nine hours at the first closed-door hearing on February 25.

Polish prosecutors argue there are legal grounds for the extradition to go ahead, despite a statute of limitations on child sex crimes under Polish law.

If the court clears the extradition, Poland's justice ministry will still have the final say.

Polanski, who became a French citizen in 1976 after moving to France from Poland, is currently working on a new film about France's Dreyfus Affair.

The case featured an army captain wrongly convicted in 1894 of espionage and treason whose ordeal has become a symbol of injustice and anti-Semitism.

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

The mother-of-three wrote in "The Girl: A Life Lived in the Shadow of Roman Polanski" that she harbours no hate for Polanski and has forgiven him.

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