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Under-fire Polanski abandons plan to preside at French Oscars

Film-maker Roman Polanski has decided not to preside over the French equivalent of the Oscars, after protests from France's women's rights minister and feminist groups because of decades-old US sex charges.

An official with the arts academy that stages the Cesar Awards said on Tuesday that Polanski will not take part in the February 24 ceremony in Paris, and the academy is discussing alternative options.

The official would not comment on the reason for Polanski's decision.

Women's minister Laurence Rossignol had called it "shocking" for the 83-year-old Polanski to preside over the Cesars.

Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles in 1977, but then fled the US.

Polanski won the 2003 best director Oscar for The Pianist.

AP

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