Extradition request based on lie, says Polanski

In an open letter published in Swiss newspapers on Monday, film director Roman Polanski has argued in his own words why he should be set free.

This content was published on May 3, 2010 - 15:07

The Oscar winner is under house arrest at his chalet in Gstaad while awaiting possible extradition to the United States for sentencing in a child-sex case stemming from 1977.

“Thirty-three years ago I pleaded guilty, served my sentence in a normal prison, not a VIP jail, which should have covered the entirety of my term. When I left prison, the judge changed his mind,” he writes.

In the letter titled “I can no longer keep quiet”, Polanski says it was time to break his silence seven months after his arrest in Zurich because a Californian court recently rejected his request to be sentenced in absentia.

Polanski says the extradition request by justice authorities in the United States is “based on a lie” and ulterior motives.

“I can no longer keep quiet now because the same causes produce the same effects and the new attorney handling this case … is also on the campaign trail and in need of media fame!” Polanski wrote.

The 76-year-old French-Polish national lays out eight points in support of his case. He says prosecutors from the original case have testified under oath that the director has already served enough time, that his victim has repeatedly requested the case be dropped and that the courts are issuing rulings that contradict themselves.

“This is what I have to say in the hope that Switzerland will recognise there are no grounds for extradition and that I will be able to find peace again and join my family in freedom in my country,” he concluded.

Swiss authorities responded on Monday afternoon, saying it is up to US justice officials to review Polanski's arguments.

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