Polanski to be bailed Friday

3rd December 2009, Comments 0 comments

A Swiss official says Roman Polanski will be released on bail on Friday and taken to his chalet.

Geneva -- Filmmaker Roman Polanski, who is fighting extradition to the United States on a child sex conviction, will be released on bail on Friday and taken to his chalet, the Swiss justice ministry told AFP.

"Roman Polanski will be transferred on Friday to his chalet in Gstaad," in western Switzerland, ministry spokesman Folco Galli said on Wednesday, adding that he would be released from jail near Zurich in northeastern Switzerland on the same day.

Polanski is expected to arrive in the Alpine resort at 13:00 CET on 4 December, he added. He declined to give further details.

The French-Polish film director, who has been hunted by the United States ever since he fled in 1978 after admitting unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl, was arrested in Switzerland on 26 September.

He was granted bail of EUR 3.0 million (USD 4.5 million) in late November, on condition that he remains under house arrest at his chalet.

The 76-year-old will be equipped with an electronic surveillance bracelet to ensure he stays within the 1,800 square metre (19,400 square foot) grounds of his property, pending a ruling on the US extradition request.

Swiss officials had initially opposed bail on the grounds that Polanski could easily flee to France, where he has been sheltered from extradition to the United States for some three decades because he holds French nationality.

His second home is only a 67 kilometre (42 miles) drive from the nearest French border post, mainly through winding mountain roads.

Interpol recently warned governments to be on the look-out in case he goes on the run once again.

"Given Mr Polanski's history of international travel while defying a judicial order, a USD 4.5 million bail and an electronic bracelet does not mean that law enforcement lets its global guard down," Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said in late November.

"If Mr Polanski defies the conditions of his release, no country should welcome, offer safe haven to, or defend his conduct," he added.

Polanski has regularly stayed in Gstaad over the years, although he reportedly bought his traditional style chalet, dubbed "Milky Way," on the outskirts of the upper crust ski resort more recently.

The Oscar-winning director was arrested after he arrived at Zurich airport to attend the city's film festival, where he was due to collect a lifetime achievement award, sparking a court battle.

Apart from appealing for bail, Polanski's French-led team of defence lawyers have also contested his extradition in Switzerland.

Meanwhile, his US legal team were due to ask a California appeals court on 10 December to dismiss the child sex conviction, legal sources said in November.

Lawyers for the victim in the child sex case, Samantha Geir, filed a court motion in October in Los Angeles renewing calls for the original case against the director to be dismissed because of the anguish the renewed attention was causing her.

AFP / Expatica

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