The lawyer for Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski said his client must be freed from house arrest in Switzerland, because a U.S. Court rejected the auteur's bid to be tried in absentia for his child sex case.
Herve Temime, Polanski's lawyer, told reporters in Switzerland today that "it is up to the Swiss authorities to tell the truth and give back Roman Polanski his freedom once and for all, regardless of the roar and unbearable pressure of an ill-formed public." His comments were made in a statement given to Agence France Presse.
Temime's comments came after a state appeals court ruled Thursday that court hearings requested by Polanski, including sentencing in absentia, cannot occur unless Polanski surrenders to California police and ends his 33 year run as a fugitive.
Despite a request from the then-child victim that the case be dropped, prosecutors say Polanski should be jailed for violating terms of the bail that he jumped while awaiting sentencing for unlawful sexual relations when he drugged and sodomized the child in 1977.
"One gets the feeling that there's the desire to see him arrive (in Los Angeles) in shackles, when there's no reason why Roman Polankski should be extradited, none at all," Temime told Europe 1 radio in Paris.
After being a fugitive for more than 30 years, Polanski was arrested last September in Switzerland while on his way to a film festival. The 76-year-old filmmaker -- who won an Oscar in 2002 for directing "The Pianist" -- has been under house arrest at his ski chalet in the Swiss resort of Gstaad since being released from a Swiss jail Dec. 4. Polanski pleaded guilty in 1977 to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson's home in the Hollywood Hills.
He fled to France in 1978 before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Laurence Rittenband, who had indicated he was going to reject a plea agreement under which the director would have been able to stay out of prison, could sentence him.
Swiss authorities said last February that a decision on whether to extradite Polanski could not be made until the filmmaker exhausts his U.S. appeals. A Los Angeles judge in January initially denied Polanski's bid to be sentenced in absentia.