Polanski to fight extradition

2009-09-28 17:06

Zurich - Film director Roman Polanski, arrested in Switzerland over a US charge of having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977, will fight extradition to the US, his lawyer said on Monday.

Polanski, 76, who has dual French and Polish citizenship, was detained on Saturday after arriving to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival.

"He is in fighting mood and determined to defend himself," Herve Temime, Polanski's lawyer, told France Info radio, adding his client was stunned by the arrest as he was a regular visitor to Switzerland, with a chalet at the ski resort of Gstaad.

"We have begun by requesting his release, which should be done today in principle," Temime said. "There is no reason in law, or regarding the facts or in terms of the most basic justice to keep Roman Polanski a single day in prison."

Victim: no jail time

Polanski was initially arrested in the US in 1977 and charged with giving drugs and alcohol to a minor, Samantha Geimer, and having unlawful sex with her. Geimer of Hawaii has since said Polanski should not face any jail time.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner spoke to his Swiss counterpart Micheline Calmy-Rey to discuss the case, a Swiss ministry spokesperson said. Kouchner also told French radio on Monday he was working with Poland on the matter and had written to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

During a visit to Paris on Monday, Swiss Economy Minister Doris Leuthard said the country had no choice but to enforce an international arrest warrant against Polanski.

"The Americans strongly believe that the arrest of Mr Polanski is necessary. That's for them to decide. Switzerland is simply a state where the police functions and where we treat all people in the same way," she told a news conference.

Leuthard rejected suggestions Berne had arrested Polanski to help patch up ties strained by a high-profile US tax case against Swiss bank UBS, which agreed a settlement over charges it helped wealthy Americans stash assets in secret accounts.

"The two things have absolutely no connection," she said.

'Philistine collusion'

The US authorities have up to 60 days to make a firm extradition request, but Polanski can appeal to the Swiss Federal Penal Court of Justice. A spokesperson for the court said it had not yet received any request on the Polanski case.

Wearing red badges reading "Free Polanski", the Zurich Film Festival jury accused Switzerland of "philistine collusion".

"We hope today this latest order will be dropped. It is based on a three decade old case that is all but dead but for minor technicalities. We stand by and wait for his release and his next masterwork," said jury president Debra Winger.

Other members of the movie profession including Italian actress Monica Bellucci, French actress Fanny Ardant, president of the Cannes film festival Gilles Jacob and Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai issued a petition demanding his immediate release.

Polanski has avoided countries that have extradition treaties with the US since fleeing in 1978. He has never returned to Los Angeles, where his pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, was murdered by followers of Charles Manson in 1969.

Nominated for 11 Oscars

The director maintained that Geimer was sexually experienced and consented. Polanski spent 42 days in prison undergoing psychiatric tests and eventually agreed to plead guilty and receive a sentence of time served.

But Polanski fled on the eve of his 1978 sentencing because he believed a judge might jail him for 50 years. His lawyers tried and failed earlier this year to have the case dismissed after a documentary raised new questions of judicial misconduct.

Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said on Sunday Polanski had received a very lenient sentence, which would never be achievable under today's laws: "Some form of justice will finally be done," he said.

Born to Polish-Jewish parents on August 18 1933, Polanski spent his first three years in Paris before the family returned to Poland. He escaped when the Germans sealed off the Krakow Jewish ghetto but his mother later died at Auschwitz.

Polanski scored a huge hit in the US with 1968 horror thriller Rosemary's Baby, and another with 1974's Chinatown, a stylish thriller starring Jack Nicholson that was nominated for 11 Academy Awards.

Tess (1979) also earned him an Oscar nomination, and Polanski finally won his only best director Oscar for 2002 film The Pianist, the story of a Jewish-Polish musician who sees his world collapse with the outbreak of World War II.

Read more on:    academy awards  |  hillary clinton  |  roman polanski  |  bernard kouchner  |  switzerland  |  france  |  poland
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!

Nothing, and we mean nothing, will keep goalkeeper Scott Stirling from stopping the ball!

 
 

Men24.com

Hottie of the day: Jesselyn
This invention makes farts smell like chocolate!
11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Grandiose ideas and plans can trip you up today. Keep things in context and take one step at a time....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.