- Title: SWITZERLAND: United States formally asks Switzerland to extradite Polanski
- Date: 24th October 2009
- Summary: BERN, SWITZERLAND (OCTOBER 23, 2009) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF SWISS JUSTICE MINISTRY BUILDING JUSTICE MINISTRY SPOKESMAN FOLCO GALLI WALKING OUT OF BUILDING WITH JOURNALIST (SOUNDBITE) (French) JUSTICE MINISTRY SPOKESMAN FOLCO GALLI SAYING: "Yesterday night, the American Embassy gave us a formal extradition request. That request is based on an arrest warrant from February 1, 1978, by the competent Court of Los Angeles. That warrant had been issued because that day, Mr. Polanski, against his guarantees, had not showed himself at the court." SIGNPOST READING "FEDERAL MINISTRY OF JUSTICE"
- Embargoed: 8th November 2009 09:42
- Location: Switzerland
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Reuters ID: LVARH5K1XK7ZRZ8C9DCDA2IMUCE
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Switzerland's Justice Ministry has confirmed that the United States has begun formal extradition proceedings against film director Roman Polanski.
The United States has formally asked Switzerland to extradite film director Roman Polanski, who fled sentencing in California on child sex charges in 1977, the Swiss justice ministry said on Friday (October 23).
It said it would make a decision on extradition based on a hearing and on information provided by Polanski's lawyer, but that there was no deadline.
"Yesterday night (Thursday, October 22), the American Embassy gave us a formal extradition request. That request is based on an arrest warrant from February 1, 1978, by the competent Court of Los Angeles. That warrant had been issued because that day, Mr. Polanski, against his guarantees, had not showed himself at the court," Justice Ministry spokesman Folco Galli said.
Polanski will be able to appeal against any extradition decision to the Swiss Federal Criminal Court and, in the last instance, the Federal Supreme Court, the ministry said.
The 76-year-old Oscar-winning director, who holds dual French and Polish citizenship, was arrested to comply with a U.S. warrant when he flew into Switzerland on September 26 to receive a lifetime achievement award at a film festival.
Polanski fled the United States 32 years ago, when he was due to be sentenced for having unlawful sex with a girl aged 13.
U.S. judicial sources have said the extradition process is complex and could take years if Polanski challenges it.
A Swiss court this week rejected a bid by Polanski for release on bail, saying the risk that he would flee was too high.
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