Polanski fails in latest bid to avoid extradition
California court rejects film director’s bid to be sentenced in absentia
Roman Polanski's bid to be sentenced in absentia - and avoid extradition to the United States as a result - has been rejected by a US appeals court.
The move by the California Second District Court of Appeal clears the way for US authorities to bring the 76-year-old film director back from Switzerland to face charges of having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
Meanwhile French President Nicolas Sarkozy has found himself caught up in Polanski’s case after it was claimed that he hand-delivered a personal letter from the film director to US President Barack Obama while in Washington last week.
The French news magazine L'Express said yesterday that Sarkozy had passed on Polanski's letter - pleading with Obama to spare him from a jail sentence - during the anti-nuclear proliferation summit.
L'Express reported that Polanski argued that the months he has spent under house arrest in Switzerland combined with the 47 days he spent in a Californian jail in 1977 should be sufficient as "time served" and that the case against him should be dropped. A White House official has denied that Obama received the letter.
Polanski's latest film The Ghost - currently on release in Britain – uncannily reflects the director's current situation. It tells the story of a former British PM - widely considered to be a Tony Blair figure - who must fight to avoid extradition for war crimes while taking refuge on an American island resort. ·
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