The U.S. government has formally requested that Switzerland send jailed Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski back to America to face longstanding rape charges, according to reports.
In a statement Friday, the Swiss Justice ministry said the U.S. extradition request had been forwarded to authorities in Zurich for a hearing and that Polanski, 76, would be able to appeal the decision should it be approved, according to The Associated Press.
Polanski is accused of providing a 13-year-old girl with champagne and a Quaalude pill during a modeling shoot in 1977 and then raping her. After being indicted for six felonies that also included child molesting and sodomy, he pleaded guilty to unlawful sex and fled the country on the day he was to be sentenced. Polanski had been living opening in his native France until his arrest.
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On Sept. 26, the "Chinatown" director -- who won an Oscar for " The Pianist" -- was nabbed as he arrived in Zurich to attend a film festival.
The latest developments come two days after the AP revealed that the Swiss government had tipped off the U.S. that Polanski would be traveling to the country, setting in motion his arrest for the decades-old sex case.
Polanski's extradition process could take months under the country's appeals process, according to the AP.