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Polanski must return to US for sentencing

Film director Roman Polanski has lost his bid to be sentenced on a decades old sex conviction without returning to the United States.

California Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza ruled on Friday that the 76-year-old French-Polish director must be present in court if he wants to resolve his 32-year-old sex case.

Calling Polanski a fugitive from justice, Espinoza said he was acting to protect “the dignity of the court”. The director's lawyers said they would appeal.

Polanski is currently under house arrest in Switzerland and fighting extradition to the US.

Espinoza cited a law that says someone who flees is not entitled to the processes of the court unless they return. The judge also cited the length of time Polanski had been a fugitive and the deterrent factor for others who might consider fleeing to escape justice.

The director fled the US in 1978 after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and was picked up by Swiss authorities in September at the Zurich airport.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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