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[Reuters]Roman Polanski arrested in Switzerland 31 years after fleeing trial

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Ottomaton, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    I'm surpised nobody has posted this yet.

    [rquoter]

    Polanski arrested in Switzerland on U.S. warrant

    By Jason Rhodes

    ZURICH, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Director Roman Polanski, whose turbulent life has on occasion come close to resembling the violent, perverse world of his movies, was arrested in Zurich on a 1978 U.S. warrant for having sex with a 13-year-old.

    Polanski, 76, was due to receive a prize for his life's work at the Zurich Film Festival on Sunday evening, opening a retrospective of his distinguished film career, but he was arrested after arriving in Switzerland on Saturday night.

    Calling Polanski, who won Best Director Oscar for "The Pianist" in 2003, one of the greatest film directors of our time, festival organisers said they had "received this news with great consternation and shock."

    French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand was "stunned" to hear about the arrest, his office said, adding President Nicolas Sarkozy was following the case and hoped the matter could be resolved, allowing Polanski to return to his family.

    "We are going to try to lift the arrest warrant in Zurich ... the (extradition) convention between Switzerland and the United States is not very clear," Polanski's lawyer, Georges Kiejman, told France Info radio.

    Zurich Cantonal Police spokesman Stefan Oberlin said the arrest of Polanski, who is a French citizen, was carried out on instruction from the Federal Justice Department in Berne.

    Polanski was arrested in the United States in the late 1970s and charged with giving drugs and alcohol to a 13-year-old girl and having unlawful sex with her at a photographic shoot at Jack Nicholson's Hollywood home.

    Maintaining the girl was sexually experienced and had consented, Polanski spent 42 days in prison undergoing psychiatric tests but fled the country before being sentenced.

    Considered by U.S. authorities as a fugitive from justice, Polanski, whose films include "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown," has lived in France, avoiding countries that have extradition treaties with the United States.

    "Both the extradition arrest warrant and any extradition decision can be challenged in the Federal Penal Court," the Swiss Federal Justice Department said, adding these decisions could in turn be taken further to Switzerland's Federal Court of Justice.

    The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office received word last week that Polanski would be in Zurich and prosecutors sent a provisional arrest warrant to Swiss authorities, said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

    Gibbons said it was not the first time the office had prepared paperwork for his arrest after receiving reports that Polanski would be traveling to countries with extradition treaties with the United States.

    "But he never showed up in the country where he was supposed to be, and he was never arrested," she said.

    When asked if prosecutors would seek jail time for Polanski if he is returned to the United States, Gibbons said: "It will be up to the court to determine what will happen to Mr. Polanski as far as sentencing ... We've always maintained this is a matter between Polanski and the court."

    Few lives have turned into the macabre public spectacle that Polanski's has, first after the gruesome murder of his pregnant wife Sharon Tate in 1969 by the Charles Manson murder cult, and again eight years later when he was arrested for the statutory rape of the 13-year-old girl.

    FANTASIES AND FEARS

    But few directors have laid bare their inner fantasies and fears like Polanski in films such as "Repulsion," "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Tenant" -- films of disturbing brutality shot through with voyeurism and dark humor .

    From early childhood when he escaped the Nazi Holocaust in Poland, Polanski's life has appeared, like his movies, to hover precariously on the brink of tragedy.

    "I am shocked that any man of 76, whether distinguished or not, should have been treated in such a fashion," said best-selling British writer Robert Harris who worked with Polanski to make his book "The Ghost" into a film.

    "(The French culture minister) profoundly regrets that a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already known so many during his life, which has bubbled with spirit and creativity," the statement from his ministry said.

    Born Raymond Polanski to Polish-Jewish parents on August 18, 1933, he spent the first three years of his life in Paris before the family returned to Poland.

    When the Germans sealed off the Jewish ghetto in Krakow in 1940, his father shouted to Roman to run and he escaped. His mother later died in an Auschwitz gas chamber.

    His first full-length feature film after graduation, "Knife in the Water," won awards and, most important for Polanski, was his ticket to the West.

    As his reputation grew -- first with "Repulsion," his study of a woman terrified by sex who becomes a psychotic murderer, and then with the absurdist masterpiece "Cul de Sac" -- Polanski developed a taste for the high life and beautiful women.

    In 1974 Polanski had another major Hollywood success with "Chinatown," a stylish thriller starring Nicholson that was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, but his private life stayed unsettled as he drifted between Paris, Rome and Los Angeles and embarked on numerous short-lived affairs.

    In 2003, he won the Oscar for "The Pianist," the story of a Jewish-Polish musician who sees his world collapse with the outbreak of World War Two and the invasion of Poland. It won three Academy Awards.

    "I am widely regarded, I know, as an evil, profligate dwarf," Polanski wrote in his autobiography. "My friends -- and the women in my life -- know better." (Additional reporting by Crispian Balmer in Paris and Nicole Maestri in San Francisco; Writing by Peter Millership; Editing by Michael Roddy and Paul Simao)

    [/rquoter]
     
  2. Batman Jones

    Batman Jones Contributing Member

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    This is a really tough thing.

    On the one hand, this sort of thing certainly shouldn't go unpunished. And his celebrity shouldn't afford him any special favors.

    On the other hand, this guy has been through more than anyone should - in ten lives - most of it before the crime was committed. It's hard to want to punish a guy like this more. But then, he's never really been punished for the crime itself.

    I don't even know where I stand on it.
     
  3. YallMean

    YallMean Member

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    If you and I had sex with an under-age girl, it is statutory rape. The law is harsh. Roman shouldn't be treated differently. Good films, yes, but that is irrelevant to the legal trouble he is facing, IMO.
     
  4. pippendagimp

    pippendagimp Member

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    he had sex with a 13 year old girl when he was a 44 year old man - and then he fled the country as a fugitive instead of facing justice.........methinks he deserves some overdue jailtime and then some....
     
  5. Batman Jones

    Batman Jones Contributing Member

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    I agree that his films are irrelevant and his past troubles are too (Holocaust, brutally murdered pregnant wife). And, apparently, he was told that he was getting off with time served before the judge changed his mind. Not in any way to forgive or mitigate it, it's just intense how horrible his life was before his crime and a shame that his prosecution was in some way tainted as well.
     
  6. YallMean

    YallMean Member

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    I love his movies and don't like him to see he potentially spend the rest of his life in a prison. I sure hope the Court will consider relevant mitigating factors such as his mental state at the time of alleged statutory rape. Unfortunately, I think it's going to be tough on him considering statutory rape is strict liability therefore not much wiggle room and he had been hiding for such long time. So sad too bad, but Justice has to prevail in the end and one may call it in a narrow way.
     
  7. Air Langhi

    Air Langhi Contributing Member

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    Why did he go to Switzerland?

    This is why our justice system sucks. You have a kid going to jail for getting a BJ or texting and you have 44 year old guy having sex with a 13 year and getting off because he is rich.

    You have a guy who drove drunk and killed a women but was a senator and got off. You have OJ who got off because he was rich.

    Justice is not blind, it is stacked toward the wealthy.
     
  8. Oski2005

    Oski2005 Contributing Member

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    He didn't "get off." He fled the country and has been a fugitive for over 30 years.
     
  9. pgabriel

    pgabriel Educated Negro

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    not that i'm disputing air langhi, but no one would care about this guy if he wasn't rich and famous for this crime imo
     
  10. Air Langhi

    Air Langhi Contributing Member

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    He couldn't have fled w/o money.
     
  11. YallMean

    YallMean Member

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    I am not sure. You often hear no name guys disappear in South America or Asia to evade Justice. Certainly Justice has limits.
     
  12. BetterThanEver

    BetterThanEver Contributing Member

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    Few fugitives are millionaire celebrities. If being a fugitive required one to be a multimillionaire, the FBI's most wanted would only have celebrities on it.
     
  13. langal

    langal Contributing Member

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    There are probably thousands of sexual predators in jail right now whose lives have been far worse than Polanski's. They should stay in jail. Polanski should go to jail.
     
  14. giddyup

    giddyup Contributing Member

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    They've yet to confirm that he is a Republican...
     
  15. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    If Polanski hadn't fled its very likely that he would've served his time and been out of jail already.
     
  16. langal

    langal Contributing Member

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    LOL.

    Someone go dig up some trash up about Clint Eastwood. Then we can all dogpile and say how all conservatives are hypocrites.
     
  17. DaDakota

    DaDakota If you want to know, just ask!

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    It is not so simple the judge really screwed up the trial etc.....

    DD
     
  18. adoo

    adoo Member

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    not at all.

    he raped a 13-yr old minor, and then he jumped bail.

    he needs to be punished for, at least, these two counts.
     
  19. YallMean

    YallMean Member

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    Well, I don't know the facts in detail. But looks like he provided drugs and alcohol to the girl, so she might have been drugged and the sex was without her consent.
    But having sex with minor by law is treated as rape per-se.

    Just want to say it's not clear whether he actually raped her.
     
  20. pippendagimp

    pippendagimp Member

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    i just heard on CNN that US authorities plan on charging him with "drugging and raping a 13 year old girl"
     

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