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Top filmmakers appeal to Swiss over Polanski

Several top directors attending the Cannes film festival have signed an on-line petition in support of Roman Polanski, currently under house arrest in Switzerland.

The signatories include the Franco-Swiss director Jean-Luc Godard, and French directors Mathieu Amalric, Bernard Tavernier and Xavier Beauvois, all of whom have films officially selected for this year’s festival.

They call on the Swiss authorities to reject a United States request to extradite Polanski over a child sex case dating back to 1977.

The 76-year-old Franco-Polish filmmaker was detained under an international arrest warrant as he entered Switzerland last September, and is now under house arrest in his chalet in the Swiss resort of Gstaad.

The petition maintains that the US extradition request is “based upon a lie”. This echoes a claim made recently by Polanski’s lawyers who say that secret transcripts of testimony given by a prosecutor in the original case would show that the justice authorities in Los Angeles had provided false and incomplete information in their request to Switzerland.

Earlier this week, a Los Angeles judge refused a request to unseal the testimony.

In the wording of the petition, the signatories “appeal to the Swiss authorities, entreating them not to believe the word of Governor Schwarzenegger and the prosecutors of the state of California”. and agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR