Filmmaker to be held under house arrest
BERLIN — Roman Polanski will not be released into house arrest until next week, Swiss authorities said Friday, adding that since bail conditions had not yet been met, the filmmaker would not be released until Monday at the earliest.
A Swiss court agreed on Wednesday to release Polanski on $4.5 million bail and on Thursday the Swiss Justice Ministry said it would not appeal the decision.
The 76-year-old Polanski has been incarcerated since his arrest on Sept. 26 on a U.S. warrant as he arrived in Switzerland to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival.
Although the court agreed to release Polanski on bail, he had to remain in prison while the ministry considered whether it would appeal the decision.
Polanski will have to remain in his $1.6 million home in the scenic winter resort town of Gstaad, once a favorite destination for the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Roger Moore.
The Swiss government is still reviewing a U.S. extradition request for Polanski, who remains wanted for fleeing Los Angeles in 1978 after pleading guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.
The ministry is expected to decide on the extradition request in the next few weeks. An extradition would also be subject to appeals, however.
The ministry said it would not appeal a Swiss Criminal Court decision granting Polanski $4.5 million bail. In addition to wearing an electronic bracelet, Polanski, who holds dual French and Polish citizenship, will also have to surrender his identity documents.
“He must not leave this house,” the ministry said in a statement.
Should he violate the terms of release, the bail will be forfeited to the Swiss government.
The court had previously rejected Polanski’s first bail offer for his chalet as collateral but agreed to the $4.5 million guarantee, saying it was confident the large sum would compel the filmmaker to stay put.
The bail decision is a major win for the director of “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown” and “The Pianist” after a series of legal setbacks following his arrest.
Polanski was accused of raping the 13-year-old girl after plying her with champagne and a Quaalude pill during a modeling shoot in 1977. He was initially indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy, but he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse.
Polanski had been finishing up work on his political thriller “The Ghost,” an adaptation of Robert Harris’ novel starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan, at the time of his arrest. He is said to be finishing the film from prison in time for it to be considered for a slot at the upcoming Berlin Film Festival.
Wire services contributed to this report.