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Court rejects Polanski's bid for release

Film director Roman Polanski has lost an appeal to be freed from a Swiss prison ahead of his possible extradition to the United States for raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

The Federal Criminal Court said on Tuesday that there was a high risk of flight if Polanski were released on bail or placed under house arrest.

"According to Swiss law, detention is the rule during the entire extradition proceedings," the court said in a statement. "The court considered the risk that Roman Polanski might flee if released from custody as high."

The ruling represents another setback for the 76-year-old filmmaker who is considered a convicted felon and a fugitive by authorities in Los Angeles.

The court said Polanski could appeal against the verdict to Switzerland's highest tribunal. He could also continue attempts to persuade the Swiss justice ministry to release him.

Polanski, a Franco-Polish dual national, was detained on September 26 at Zurich airport on his way to a film festival where he was to have been honoured for his life's work.

The arrest was made on the basis of a US warrant for drugging and having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl. He admitted the charge but fled before he could be sentenced.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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