- Mar 30, 2004
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Movie-Maker Polanski Arrested in Switzerland
By Jason Rhodes
September 27, 2009
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ZURICH (Reuters) - Film director Roman Polanski, whose turbulent life has come close to resembling the violent, perverse world of his movies, was arrested in Switzerland on a 1978 U.S. arrest warrant for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old.
Polanski, 76, had been due to receive a prize for his life's work at the Zurich Film Festival on Sunday evening, opening a retrospective of his film career but was arrested on arrival at Zurich airport on Saturday night.
Calling Polanski, who won Best Director Oscar for "The Pianist" in 2003, one of the greatest film directors of our time, the festival directors said they had "received this news with great consternation and shock."
Polanski's Los Angeles agent and the U.S. embassy in Zurich were not immediately available for comment.
Zurich Cantonal Police spokesman Stefan Oberlin said Polanski's arrest had been carried out on instructions from the Federal Justice Department in Berne.
Polanski was arrested in the United States in the late 1970s and charged with giving drugs and alcohol to a 13-year-old girl and having unlawful sex with her at a photographic shoot at Jack Nicholson's Hollywood home.
Maintaining the girl was sexually experienced and had consented, Polanski spent 42 days in prison undergoing psychiatric tests but fled the country before being sentenced.
Considered by U.S. authorities as a fugitive from justice, Polanski, whose films include "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown," has lived in France avoiding countries that have extradition treaties with the United States.
Few lives have turned into the macabre public spectacle that Polanski's has, first after the gruesome murder of his pregnant wife Sharon Tate in 1969 by the Charles Manson murder gang, and again eight years later when he was arrested for the statutory rape of the 13-year-old girl.
Man, he's in his 70's. Not sure about this. I mean, I understand that the law is being upheld but still....
Where do you guys stand on this?