Roman Today & 1969
Roman Polanski in Swiss custody on 1978 warrant
The director was arriving late Saturday to receive an honorary award at the Zurich Film Festival when he was detained at the airport, festival organizers say.
4:32 AM PDT, September 27, 2009
ZURICH — Director Roman Polanski has been taken into custody by Swiss police on a 31-year-old U.S. arrest warrant, organizers of the Zurich Film Festival said today.
Zurich police spokesman Stefan Oberlin confirmed Polanski's arrest, but refused to provide more details because he said it was a matter for the Swiss Justice Ministry.
Ministry spokesman Guido Balmer declined to comment.
Polanski fled the United States in 1978, a year after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.
The 76-year-old director of such classic films as "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby" recently sought dismissal of his case on grounds of misconduct by the now-deceased judge who had arranged a plea bargain and then reneged on it.
Polanski has lived for the past three decades in France, where his career has continued to flourish. He received a directing Oscar in absentia for the 2002 movie "The Pianist."
Festival organizers said Polanski traveled to Switzerland to receive an award for his lifetime of work as a director.
They said Polanski's detention had caused "shock and dismay," but that they would go ahead with today's planned retrospective of the director's work.
Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times
September 27, 2009 6:18 AM