Freed Polanski makes first public outing in Switzerland

17th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Director Roman Polanski, freed this week after Switzerland refused a US extradition request, made his first public outing Saturday to see his wife perform at the Montreaux Jazz Festival.

High security prevented the media from getting close to the 76-year-old film director as he arrived to attend Emmanuelle Seigner's concert with festival founder Claude Nobs in a 4x4 with tinted windows.

Polanski had been under house arrest pending the US demand, refused on Monday, for him to be sent to California to face justice for unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

The director stayed out of sight throughout the concert, which Seigner began with the theme from Polanski's 1968 cult classic "Rosemary's Baby", in the only reference to her husband in the performance in the small town by Lake Leman.

Earlier Polanski had said he maintained "a great friendship for Switzerland and above all ... for its people who solidly supported me," in an interview with Swiss television to be broadcast Saturday night.

"I do not know what I am going to do next," the Oscar-winning film-maker said, according to the transcript of the interview on the website of Television Suisse Romande. "For the moment, I am happy to be free."

The French-Polish director of "The Pianist" and "Chinatown" said his son Elvis had cut the electronic bracelet he had worn throughout his house arrest in Gstaad, adding that he "could easily have escaped but I never wanted to."

Polanski said he would return to Gstaad, the millionaires' playground in southeastern Switzerland where he has a luxury chalet, and thanked its inhabitants for bringing him flowers, wine and support.

He also thanked those who defended him, despite the controversy over his case, and his wife and children "without whom I would never have succeeded in keeping my dignity and perseverance."

The 44-year-old Seigner, star of "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly", had told Radio Suisse Romande that she was "very happy that (Polanski) will be there tonight because he has not seen my concert before."

On Monday Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf announced the director would not be extradited and could walk free. The United States has vowed to pursue its three-decade hunt for the director.

Polanski has not returned to the United States since 1977, when he fled after making a plea bargain in the child sex case. His last film, "The Ghost Writer," was set in the United States but filmed on location in Germany.

© 2010 AFP

0 Comments To This Article