Famed film director Roman Polanski arrested on 1978 arrest warrantSeptember 27th, 2009 - 5:52 pm ICT by BNO News
ZURICH (BNO NEWS) – Famed film maker Roman Polanski was arrested on a 1978 arrest warrant as he attempted to enter Switzerland on Saturday, the Zurich Film Festival said on Sunday. He may spend the rest of his life in prison if extradited to the United States.
“Roman Polanski, among the greatest film directors of our time, should have been in Zurich today to receive an award for his lifetime achievements,” a spokesperson for the festival said in an e-mailed statement. Polanski arrested in Switzerland on Saturday and was taken into custody upon arriving at the airport on the basis of a 1978 arrest warrant, in which he pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl. The statement said the arrest was made after a request by U.S. authorities, and said it learned of the arrest with “great dismay and sadness.”
The events planned for Sunday, including the “Tribute to Roman Polanski,” will be carried out as scheduled. The festival hopes to present Polanski the award at a later date.
Polanski, who is 76 years old, left the United States in 1978 before he was sentenced in a child sex case and was considered to be a fugitive until now. In 1977 he was charged with drugging and raping a minor during a photo shoot in the United States, but fled the country after pleading guilty and facing up to 50 years in prison.
He remained in France until his arrest on Saturday, which has no extradition laws. Earlier this year, Polanski asked a U.S. court to overturn a judge’s refusal to consider his request to throw out the 1977 case.
Polanski’s victim, Samantha Geimer, spoke to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in March, 2003 in which she openly supported his Academy Award nomination in the Best Director category for ” The Pianist.” “The film should be judged on its merits alone. I guess people want to me to be really angry and hateful toward him; honestly, I don’t feel that way. I think he’s a really good director,” Geimer said in the interview.
Although BNO News does usually not identify victims or possible victims of sexual abuse, Geimer has openly spoken to the media at several occasions to discuss the rape.
It happened in 1977 when Polanski asked Geimer’s mother if he could photograph the then-13-year-old girl for Vogue, a French magazine. “My mom and I thought the photos would help my acting career. I wanted to be a movie star,” Geimer told the Hawaiian newspaper in 2003, where she still lives.
“Everything was going fine; then he asked me to change, well, in front of him,” she said. “It didn’t feel right, and I didn’t want to go back to the second shoot. But I didn’t at that time have the self-confidence to tell my mother and everyone, ‘No, I’m not going to go.’”.
Geimer later went to the second photo shoot, when the situation turned more serious. “We did photos with me drinking champagne,” Geimer said. “Toward the end it got a little scary, and I realized he had other intentions and I knew I was not where I should be. I just didn’t quite know how to get myself out of there.”
Polanski then performed various sexual acts on the girl, after he gave her a combination of champagne and Quaaludes.
Tags: academy award nomination, arrest warrant, best director, bno, child sex, director category, dismay, extradition laws, film director, film directors, film maker, good director, greatest film, honolulu star bulletin, life in prison, lifetime achievements, photo shoot, roman polanski, samantha geimer, sex case