Back in October we talked about the depressing news out of Poland, where a court rejected the latest United States request for the extradition of notorious child molester and rapist Roman Polanski. That wasn’t quite the end of the story because the prosecutors there had the option of appealing the finding. Sadly, it will likely come as no great surprise that on Friday the prosecutors in question completed their examination of the results and found no reason to question the court. (Time Magazine)
The decision by the prosecutors closes the case in Poland and means Polanski, 82, is free to reside and work in Poland, where he grew up and studied filmmaking, and where he is preparing to make a new movie. Preparations for the movie were stalled by the extradition request that the U.S. made last year…
A judge in Krakow ruled last month that Polanski’s extradition is inadmissible, arguing that the U.S. trial was not fair and that Polanski would not face a fair trial there.
The Krakow prosecutors said in a statement they agreed with the court’s reasoning.
Among the irregularities, the court and the prosecutors named violation of Polanski’s right to defense, “unethical” discussions between the judge and only one side of the case, informal instructions to the judges, intentional destruction of some of the documents in the case and loss of some others and excessive sensitivity of the judges to criticism in the media.
It’s not difficult to parse all of the gobbledygook in the prosecutors’ statements because it essentially translates into an admission that Polanski is one of their “national treasures” and they are afraid that a court in the United States might actually punish him for his heinous crimes rather than giving him a slap on the wrist and freeing him to start attending Hollywood galas every month. And with that there seems to be no other normal path to justice here.
I emphasize the word “normal” because the Justice Department should still have other options if they were really serious about seeing justice done. The United States has had an extradition treaty with Poland since 1936, renewed in 1999. The Poles are clearly ignoring their obligations under this treaty. As with nearly all of the oldest such treaties, we should only need to determine that the crime in question is covered under the agreement. Since it includes, “murder, attempted murder, rape, kidnapping, burglary and robbery” there’s no problem there. There have been exceptions granted before in cases where nations who don’t have the death penalty refuse to extradite someone to the United States if they might face capital punishment here. But while Polanski’s crimes were monstrous, nobody has ever suggested that he be put to death for them.
So where does that leave us if Polanski clearly qualifies for extradition but the Polish government is refusing to honor their obligations? There is one other step and it’s called extraordinary rendition. It’s a practice which generally sets the ACLU’s hair on fire and prompts objections from around the world, but that’s primarily because it’s been used to move terrorists in a clandestine fashion to places where they might be tortured in violation of “international law.” But the practice itself can be and has been used. So what if the target in question is not only a “suspect” but somebody who has already been convicted in our courts? And what if he’s not facing any chance of torture in some far off, Egyptian dungeon, but will simply be placed in prison alongside all the rest of the rapists and child molesters?
Looked at in this light, it’s not difficult to imagine a situation where either the CIA or some motivated bounty hunters could toss a bag over this monster’s head, shove him into a trunk and get him over the border to a more friendly country where he could be loaded on a plane bound for California. (I’m guessing German might lend a hand, or at least offer a free pass to one of our military bases there.) Once he’s on American soil there’s really not much that either Poland for France could say. If the Obama administration doesn’t want to order a couple of the CIA’s spooks into action, have the Justice Department offer a nice, juicy, seven figure bounty for anyone who arranged for Polanski to “show up” at USAG Kaiserslautern, trussed up and ready to push onboard a transport bound for the states.
This could be done if the will existed and it wouldn’t cost all that much.