Film-maker Roman Polanski has been denied bail by Swiss authorities ahead of his possible extradition to the United States.
The Oscar-winning director has been detained in prison since the end of September. His lawyers had appealed to the Federal Office of Justice to reconsider his arrest on a US extradition warrant. The 76-year-old fled America in 1978 from an underage sex charge, on the eve of sentencing. “In our view, there is still a very high risk that he will flee and that a release on bail or other measures after a release cannot guarantee Polanski’s presence in the extradition procedure,” explained Folco Galli, a spokesman for the Swiss Justice Ministry. But fears that Polanski would flee Switzerland have been discounted by his lawyer. He denied his client was a sex criminal and said he was the victim of his own fame. Polanski, he added, was willing to provide guarantees that he would remain in the country. The director arrived in Switzerland last month to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival. His victim, Samantha Gailey, sued Polanski in December 1988 alleging sexual assault, infliction of emotional distress and seduction. In the light of today’s ruling, authorities urged a Swiss court to reject another appeal by Polanski’s legal representatives.