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Swiss deny Polanski's first appeal for freedom

Roman Polanski will stay behind bars for now after the Swiss Justice Office on Tuesday rejected an appeal by the filmmaker to be released from jail.

"We continue to be of the opinion that there is a high risk of flight," Justice Office spokesman Folco Galli told the Associated Press, explaining the decision.

The Academy Award-winning director was arrested on September 26 at Zurich airport on a United States warrant. He had come to Switzerland to accept a lifetime achievement award.

Polanski is now awaiting possible extradition to the United States, where he faces a maximum of 50 years in jail for having sex 30 years ago with a 13-year-old girl.

He pleaded guilty to the charge at the time and underwent a 42-day psychological evaluation that found he was not a sexual predator. Faced with the prospect of more jail time, he fled the country shortly before being sentenced.

The request turned down by the justice ministry is separate from another appeal that his lawyers filed last week seeking to place the 76-year-old director under house arrest in Switzerland. Polanski owns a chalet in Gstaad. and agencies


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