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Polanski arrest

September 27, 2009

Film director Roman Polanski has been arrested in Switzerland on a 31-year-old US arrest warrant on charges of having sex with an underage girl. Polanski had been due to receive a prize at the Zurich Film Festival.

Roman Polanski
Swiss authorities say they're waiting for an official extradition request from the USImage: AP

Roman Polanski is being held in Geneva after being arrested upon his arrival at Zurich airport. He may now be extradited to the United States to face the sex abuse charges which date back to 1978.

US authorities accuse Polanski of illegally having sex with a 13-year-old girl in California. The film director fled the US when the allegations first came to light three decades ago. He is now a resident of France.

The government of Poland, the film director's native country, said it would appeal to the US to drop the charges. Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner would also push for Polanski's release.

Georges Kiejman, Polanski's lawyer, told France Info radio that he would also try to have the arrest warrant lifted.

"The (extradition) convention between Switzerland and the United States is not very clear," he said.

Polanski had been due to receive a prize for his life's work on Sunday evening at the Zurich Film Festival. Festival organizers said they were outraged at the arrest and would award Polanski the prize at a later date.

The Oscar-winning director is best known for his work on The Pianist and Rosemary's Baby.


Editor: Toma Tasovac