Polanski to attend extradition hearing over child sex conviction

KRAKOW, Poland - Filmmaker Roman Polanski will attend a court hearing in Poland next week that will consider a US extradition request over a 1977 child sex crime conviction, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the court, in the southern city of Krakow, said the hearing would take place on Feb. 25.

Polanski, who lives in France and is preparing to make a film in Poland, will attend. "In line with the declaration that was made before, Mr. Roman Polanski will appear in the court," attorney Jan Olszewski said.

Under Polish law, if the court rules in favour of the extradition request, the justice minister will then decide whether to approve it.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker pleaded guilty in 1977 to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl during a photoshoot in Los Angeles fueled by champagne and drugs.

Polanski served 42 days in jail as part of a 90-day plea bargain. He fled the United States the following year, believing the judge hearing his case could overrule the deal and put him in jail for years.

In 2009, Polanski was arrested in Zurich on a US warrant and placed under house arrest. He was freed in 2010 after Swiss authorities decided not to extradite him.

Now 81, he is viewed by many Poles as one of their greatest living cultural figures.

Internationally renowned for films including "Chinatown" and "The Pianist", Polanski is preparing to make a film in Poland about the Dreyfus affair, a political scandal that shook France more than a century ago.

It was unclear whether Polanski was currently in Poland, his lawyer said.