Woody Allen rallies to Polanski's defence

15th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

US director Woody Allen on Saturday defended fellow film-maker Roman Polanski by taking aim at those who would be "happy if they could execute him in a firing squad."

Allen said Polanski, who is fighting extradition from Switzerland to the United States to face sentencing in a 1977 child sex case, had paid a high price for his actions and that "enough is enough."

He was speaking after the controversy surrounding the French Polish director was rekindled on Friday after British actress Charlotte Lewis, now 42, accused Polanski of abusing her just after her 16th birthday.

"It's something that happened many years ago... he has suffered, he has not been allowed to go to the United States. He was embarrassed by the whole thing," Allen told French radio station RTL.

"He has paid his dues, he has had a hard life. The girl involved doesn't want anything to happen to him," added the director, whose new film "You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger" is screening at the Cannes film festival.

"He's an artist, he's a nice person he did something wrong and he paid for it. They (his critics) are not happy unless he pays the rest of his life. They would be happy if they could execute him in a firing squad."

Allen said Polanski had served time -- albeit a short spell -- in custody for his actions and that law enforcers should concentrate their efforts on other offenders.

"There are a million people out there in the United States, robbing banks... shooting people and selling narcotics. And they're going after a 75, 77-year-old man who has for years has caused no trouble who's lived a good life," he said.

"I feel they are wasting a lot of money to do this and it is not necessary... it is self aggrandising and it's money foolishly spent.

"They should take the money they spent on the Polanski case and go after drug dealers and rapists. Polanski... did something and he has been penalised for it. Enough is enough."

In the 1977 case, Polanski, 76, is alleged to have had sex with a 13-year-old girl despite her protests.

The director was initially charged with six felony counts, including rape and sodomy. The charge was later reduced to unlawful sexual intercourse after a plea deal agreed in part to spare his victim the ordeal of a trial.

Polanski later served 42 days at a secure unit undergoing psychiatric evaluation but fled the United States on the eve of his sentencing in 1978 amid fears that the trial judge planned to go back on a plea deal.

Allen, 74, was himself the centre of a moral furore in 1992 when, at 56, he began a relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, then 22, the adopted daughter of his former longtime partner Mia Farrow. Allen and Previn married in 1997.

© 2010 AFP

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