Tags: eu | switzerland | polanski

Polanski's Family Eager for House Arrest to Begin

Friday, 04 Dec 2009 06:21 AM


GSTAAD, Switzerland -- Roman Polanski's family waited eagerly at the director's Alpine chalet on Friday, peeking out the windows to look for him as Swiss authorities worked out the last-minute details of his transfer to house arrest.

Polanski's children _ Elvis, 9, and Morgane, 16 _ and his wife, French actress Emmanuelle Seigner, were seen at the windows of the luxury chalet in the resort town of Gstaad. Two police officers accompanied Elvis for a brief walk in the garden.

A private security firm guarded the house Thursday night, and a guard opened shutters on the building Friday morning. Four police officers in orange vests stood outside the building, keeping the curious and reporters at a distance.

Red-and-white striped police security tape and a wooden fence marked out an area around the house that was closed to strangers.

Police were expected to bring Polanski to the chalet later in the day because he has completed the conditions of his house arrest, including posting the full $4.5 million in bail, according to Swiss authorities.

Easing the transfer was a break in the weather after days of snow. Crews salted the roads to melt the ice that built up overnight.

Polanski was taken from the jail in Winterthur on Thursday to an undisclosed location for one night for "security reasons and personal protection," Justice Ministry spokesman Folco Galli said.

The 76-year-old director won't be allowed to leave his house while Switzerland decides whether to extradite him to the U.S. for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl. He will have to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.

The director of "Rosemary's Baby," "Chinatown" and "The Pianist" has been in Swiss custody since being arrested Sept. 26 on a U.S. warrant as he arrived in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award at a film festival. Authorities in Los Angeles want him returned to be sentenced after 31 years as a fugitive.

Polanski was initially accused of raping the girl after plying her with champagne and a Quaalude pill during a modeling shoot. He was indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molestation and sodomy, but he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse.

In exchange, the judge agreed to drop the remaining charges and sent him to prison for a 90-day psychiatric evaluation. The evaluator released Polanski after 42 days, but the judge said he was going to send him back to serve out the 90 days.

The filmmaker fled the U.S. on Feb. 1, 1978, the day he was to be formally sentenced. He has lived since then in France, which does not extradite its citizens.

Polanski claims that the U.S. judge and prosecutors acted improperly in his case. His attorneys will argue before a California appeals court in December that the charges should be dismissed.

© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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