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article imageSex assault victim 'willing to testify' on Polanski extradition

By AFP     Apr 9, 2015 in World

The woman raped by filmmaker Roman Polanski decades ago when she was 13 is ready to testify during the Oscar winner's extradition hearing in Poland, his lawyer said Thursday.

The United States filed the extradition request for the 81-year-old fugitive in January. The dual French-Polish citizen faces sentencing there for the 1977 rape of Samantha Geimer.

"Lawrence Silver, Samantha Geimer's lawyer, told us that both he and his client were willing to testify before the court if necessary," Polanski's lawyer Jerzy Stachowicz told AFP.

It was up to the judge to decide whether to summon Geimer, Stachowicz added after a court hearing in the southern Polish city of Krakow that Polanski did not attend.

The director of "The Pianist", "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby" testified for nine hours at a previous closed-door hearing in February.

"The next hearing will take place on May 22. Polanski's presence does not appear to be required," Stachowicz said.

Polanski has said he doubts the extradition request will be honoured but added that he will comply with the legal proceedings in Poland, where he will begin shooting a new film this year.

French-Polish film director Roman Polanski leaves a court hearing at the regional court in Krakow on...
French-Polish film director Roman Polanski leaves a court hearing at the regional court in Krakow on February 25, 2015
Janek Skarzynski, AFP/File

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 Krakow court clears the extradition, Poland's justice ministry will still have to take the final decision.

Polanski was accused of raping Geimer after a photo shoot in Los Angeles when he 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.

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

The latest extradition bid comes months after the United States tried to have Polanski arrested for sex offences when he travelled to Warsaw for the opening of a Jewish museum in October.

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