Swiss authorities to announce Polanski extradition decision

12th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Swiss authorities said they would announce Monday whether film director Roman Polanski would be extradited to the United States to face a child sex case dating back to 1977.

Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf will hold a press conference at 1200 GMT on "the decision of the Swiss authorities on the subject of the extradition of Roman Polanski," the ministry announced.

The Oscar-winning director was arrested in Zurich in September 2009 on a US warrant, and was jailed until he won a bid to be put under house arrest at his chalet in the Swiss ski resort of Gstaad while he fights extradition.

Polanski is alleged to have given 13-year-old Samantha Geimer champagne and drugs during a 1977 photo shoot at the Hollywood Hills home of actor friend Jack Nicholson before having sex with her despite her protests.

He was initially charged with six felony counts, but that charge was later reduced to unlawful sexual intercourse in a plea bargain.

He underwent a psychiatric evaluation for 42 days but fled the United States on the eve of a sentencing hearing in 1978, fearing that the judge in the case, who has since died, was planning to go back on a previously agreed deal.

Since then, he has been a fugitive.

Polanski insisted he had served the time agreed and that claims to the contrary in the US extradition warrant were false.

The Franco-Polish filmmaker has received support from a host of prominent members of the film-making industry as well as politicians.

French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterand was one of the first public figures to speak for Polanski after his arrest.

© 2010 AFP

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