Roman Polanski to move to house arrest
Thursday 03 December 2009
After more than two months in a Swiss jail, Roman Polanski will be placed under house arrest at his Alpine chalet on Friday, authorities said.
The 76-year-old director must stay in the house and wear an electronic bracelet as officials decide whether to extradite him to the US for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl, the authorities said.
"Polanski will be transferred on Friday to Gstaad," said Folco Galli, the Swiss Justice Ministry spokesman. He said the filmmaker could be in his home by early afternoon.
Galli said that he would not comment further until Polanski was delivered to the chalet.
The director of such film classics as Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown and The Pianist won a decision last week granting him bail, but was being held by authorities until he paid the full US$4.5 million demanded by court. Swiss standards differ from countries such as the United States where bail bondsmen often post a percentage of the total.
Polanski has been in Swiss custody since being arrested September 26 on a US warrant as he arrived in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award at a film festival.
Authorities in Los Angeles want him returned to be sentenced after 31 years as a fugitive.
He has been held at a jail in Winterthur, near Zurich, where recent visitors have included his Swiss lawyer and the French general consul. But it was unclear if he will be transferred directly form Winterthur to Gstaad, or taken somewhere else first to be fitted with the electronic monitoring device.
Polanski was initially accused of raping the 13-year-old girl after plying her with champagne and a Quaalude pill during a modeling shoot in 1977. He was indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molestation and sodomy, but he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse.
In exchange, the judge agreed to drop the remaining charges and sent him to prison for a 90-day psychiatric evaluation. The evaluator released Polanski after 42 days, but the judge said he was going to send him back to serve out the 90 days.
The filmmaker fled the US on February 1, 1978, the day he was to be formally sentenced. He has lived since then in France, which does not extradite its citizens.
Polanski claims that the US judge and prosecutors acted improperly in his case. His attorneys will argue before a California appeals court in December that the charges should be dismissed.
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