French, Swiss Battle Over Polanski

Director's lawyer vows to fight extradition
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2009 1:25 AM CDT
Director Roman Polanski arrives for the screening of the film "No Country For Old Men," at the 60th International film festival in Cannes in 2007.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)
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(Newser) – The French and Swiss government bickered angrily over Roman Polanski yesterday as the film director's arrest strained diplomatic relations. France's culture minister said he was “stupefied” by the arrest, while President Nicolas Sarkozy called for a “rapid solution”—presumably one that involved letting Polanski return to France. The Swiss justice ministry responded that Polanski would not be released until the extradition process is finished, the Times of London reports.

Polanski fled the US 31 years ago after admitting to sex with a 13-year-old girl. "We will be demanding that he be freed," said his lawyer. "Humanely, it seems unbearable that more than 30 years after the incident a man of 76 who poses no danger to society, and whose artistic and personal reputation are clearly established, should spend a single day in prison.” Polanski was busted as he traveled to a Swiss film festival where he was to be honored.