Another chapter in his unbelievable life story:
Roman Polanski arrested in Switzerland over sex with underage girl
Roman Polanski, th Oscar-winning director, faces extradition to the US after being arrested in Zurich on a 31-year-old arrest warrant for having sex with an under-age girl
He was in the Swiss City for the Zurich Film Festival and due to receive an award on Sunday.
But detectives took the 76-year-old into custody after raiding his hotel.
The Swiss justice ministry said on Sunday that Mr Polanski was being held under a 2005 international alert issued by the US government related to a 1978 arrest warrant.
He will not be sent to the US until extradition proceedings were complete, the ministry added.
He can contest his detention and any extradition decision in the Swiss courts.
Polanski was arrested in the late 1970s and charged with giving drugs and alcohol to a 13-year-old girl and having unlawful sex with her at Jack Nicholson’s Hollywood home. He maintained that the girl was sexually experienced and had consented.
Polanski pleaded guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and spent 42 days in prison undergoing psychiatric tests. He fled the country in 1978 before being sentenced.
Two months ago Polanski asked a California appeals court to overturn a judge’s refusal to consider his request to throw out a 1977 case in which he pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
Judge Peter Espinoza agreed there was misconduct by the judge in the original case, but said Mr Polanski must return to the US to apply for dismissal.
The victim at the centre of the case, Samantha Geimer, has previously asked for the charges to be dropped, saying the continued publication of details “causes harm to me, my husband and children”.
Polanski, who now lives permanently in Paris, is considered an international fugitive.
His Oscar for directing the 2002 The Pianist was collected by Harrison Ford, who had previously starred in his 1988 thriller, Frantic.
A statement from the organisers of the film festival stated: “Roman Polanski, one of the greatest film directors of our time, would have received an award for his life’s achievement at the Zurich Film Festival.
France’s culture minister says he is “dumbfounded” by the arrest. of the director, who is a french citizen.
Frederic Mitterrand said he “strongly regrets that a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already experienced so many of them”.