Two years after arrest, Polanski to attend Zurich film fest

Two years after arrest, Polanski to attend Zurich film fest
Georges Biard

Two years after his arrest in Zurich, director Roman Polanski will reattempt to attend the city's film festival to pick up the award that was intended for him in 2009, organisers of the event said on Thursday.  

“We are especially proud to welcome Roman Polanski this year to receive his award,” said the festival’s directors Karl Spoerri and Nadja Schildknecht.

“We have always been tremendous admirers of his work and we are delighted that we will soon be able to express this to him in person,” they added in a statement.

Polanski was arrested on an international warrant on September 27th, 2009, upon his arrival at Zurich airport, while he was travelling to the film festival.

He fought the US extradition request over a child sex case dating back more than three decades, and finally convinced Bern to release him about 10 months after his dramatic arrest.

The Franco-Polish director had plied a girl called Samatha Geimer with champagne and drugs during a 1977 photo shoot at the Hollywood home of actor Jack Nicholson before having sex with her despite her protests.

The director was initially charged with six felony counts, including rape and sodomy. The charge was later reduced to unlawful intercourse after a plea deal agreed in part to spare his victim the ordeal of a trial.

Polanski later served 42 days at a secure unit undergoing psychiatric evaluation but fled the United States on the eve of his sentencing in 1978 amid fears the trial judge planned to go back on a previously agreed plea deal.

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