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Roman Polanski extradition could take up to a year, Swiss officials say

February 2, 2010 |  8:22 am


Swiss officials could take up to a year before deciding whether to extradite film director Roman Polanski back to Los Angeles to face sentencing for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Polanski was arrested in Zurich last year in connection with the three-decade-old child-sex case and has spent the last few months under house arrest at his chalet in the Swiss Alps.

L.A. prosecutors want Polanski to return to the U.S., where he fled just before being sentenced in the sex case. Polanski's attorneys are fighting extradition.

A Swiss justice ministry official told the Le Matin Dimanche newspaper this week that there was no set timetable for a decision.

"After an extradition decision by the Swiss justice ministry, Mr. Polanski has the possibility of appealing to the Federal Criminal Court and then the Federal Supreme Court," Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said. "It's hard to say how long [an appeal] would take, but it could be from several months to a year."

An L.A. judge last month rejected Polanski's request to be sentenced in absentia.

-- Shelby Grad

Photo: Roman Polanski in court in the 1970s. Credit: Los Angeles Times