GENEVA — Switzerland's decision on extraditing Roman Polanski will be made after a California court rules whether he can be sentenced in absentia in a 33-year-old sex case, a Swiss official said.
"The Justice Ministry will decide on the extradition only after the California Court of Appeal has decided whether to hold proceedings in absentia," Swiss Justice Ministry spokesman Folco Galli told The Associated Press. "This action allows the extradition process to adapt to the US proceedings."
Galli's statement adds even more weight to an upcoming verdict by California's 2nd District Court of Appeal. If it grants Polanski's request to be sentenced in absentia, it could mean that the 76-year-old director avoids a forced return to the United States. The Swiss won't extradite him unless he is given a sentence longer than six months.
Rejection from the California court might mean that time has run out for Polanski, who fled the United States in 1978 after admitting to having sex with a 13-year-old girl.