According to Swiss police, Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski is being held in custody on a 31-year-old arrest warrant for fleeing the United States in 1977 after pleading guilty for having sex with a 13-year-old girl. Polanski, who has lived in France since running from the trial, was en route to the Zurich Film Festival where he was to receive a tribute for his filmmaking career.
It’s somewhat surprising to think that Switzerland might honor a U.S. arrest warrant that’s over thirty years old, but currently, Polanski is in “provisional detention” until they determine whether he should be extradited to the United States to face the charges against him. This means that Polanski will have to be put through the Swiss court of justice and will probably try to appeal against any extradition decision.
UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office were aware that Polanski would be leaving France for the Zurich Film Festival and they planned on issuing a provisional arrest warrant to the U.S. Justice department to have Polanski detained in Switzerland.
Polanski’s original 1977 case was well-documented in Marina Zenovich’s 2008 film Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, which included an interview with Polanski’s victim Samantha Geimer, who has since gone on the record that the case against Polanski should be thrown out after suing and accepting a settlement.