After 30 years in exile, Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland on Saturday for charges of rape dating back to 1977. The oscar winning director responsible for Chinatown, Rosemarys Baby and The Pianist was travelling to Switzerland to collect a lifetime achievement ward when he was held by immigration in Zurich. When the allegation occured back in 1977, Polanski admitted to being guilty of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, who was 13 years old at the time. The alleged incident took place at Jack Nicholsons house, where the girl said Polanski drugged her with champagne and painkillers before conducting a “very scary” assault. Polanksi’s argument was that it was consensual and the girl knew what she was doing.
Now that he has been detained, many around the globe (including the organisers of the Zurich film festival) are shocked and concerned about what will happen. The guardian has reported that Switzerland are seeing this as a public slap in the face as the detention was planned (as the authorities knew Polanski was coming into Switzerland for the awards ceremony), and that French President Nicholas Sarkozy is also keeping an eye on how this develops.
As it stands, Polanski could be spending up to 60 days in prison before he is extradited to the US. Due to his fleeing after the act, he is considered to be high risk and will therefore not be bailed out.
The LA countys district attorney’s office has released a chronology of events detailing their attempts to capture him as a wanted fugitive over the last 30 years. This release was in response to criticisms of their approach, jumping on Polanski at a time of prestigious award giving.
Although America are using as an example about no one being able to hide from the law, others such as the French culture minister Frédéric Mitterrand think that the arrest is proof of the “frightening” side of America.