What a very strange coincidence! Just a few days ago, our last post looked at the nation’s outrage at crimes against children under 15 and the plans to legalize chemical castration for offenders. A very clear moral stance taken by Mr Tusk and the nation as a whole.
Today I’m reading this:
“Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski is considering asking President Obama to pardon Roman Polanski, the director now in a Swiss jail awaiting extradition to the US.”
Mr Polanski has spent 31 years dodging his responsibilities by having never gone back to the US to answer the criminal charges that were put against him back in 1977. I don’t know what he expected to happen but I think most people will understand that the sheriff always gets his man so it came as no surprise to me that he was eventually detained. Given the surprisingly compliant attitude of the Swiss towards the US recently, it is equally understandable that he was detained at a Swiss airport.
Now, if the 1977 charge had been for shoplifting, one might just about argue that Poland has the right to go asking for a pardon for this famous son, however, the charge was for the rape of a 13 year old girl when Polanski was 44. To be precise, from Wikipedia:
Polanski was initially charged with rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance (methaqualone) to a minor. These charges were dismissed under the terms of his plea bargain, and he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.
Following the plea agreement, according to the documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, the court ordered Polanski to report to a state prison for a 90-day psychiatric evaluation, but granted a stay of ninety days to allow him to complete his current project. Under the terms set by the court, he was permitted to travel abroad. Polanski returned to California and reported to Chino State Prison for the evaluation period, and was released after 42 days. On February 1, 1978, Polanski fled to London, where he maintained residency. A day later he traveled on to France, where he held citizenship, avoiding the risk of extradition to the U.S. by Britain. Consistent with its extradition treaty with the United States, France can refuse to extradite its own citizens. An extradition request later filed by U.S. officials was denied. The United States government can request that Polanski be prosecuted on the California charges by the French authorities.
Polanski has never returned to England, and later sold his home in absentia. The United States can still request the arrest and extradition of Polanski from other countries should he visit them, and Polanski has avoided visits to countries that are likely to extradite him (such as the UK) and mostly travels and works in France, Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland.
We all know that Mr Polanski has had more than his fair share of very difficult times but I don’t think any of them can honestly be used as excuses or reasons for him to be pardoned. Which leaves us with a situation where Poland on the one hand is outraged by crimes against children but on the other hand is considering asking for a pardon for a man accused of raping a 13 year old and who has been “on the run” since 1978.
Is it just me that has a problem with this? What do the 84% think of this move?
The US is not a stupid nation and when it comes to catching criminals on the run I’ll bet they dedicate a fair amount of resource and intelligence to it. The irony of Poland’s very public outcry about crimes against children must have rung all kinds of Polanski-shaped alarm bells in the Pentagon (or wherever the CIA/FBI hang out). Did Mr Tusk just paint Polanski into a corner?