Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Roman Polanski may spend months in prison before extradition

The photo shows Sharon Tate, the 8-1/2 months pregnant wife of Roman Polanski, on August 9, 1969, the day she and three friends were murdered by the The Charles Manson Family. On the right is Polanski (1972).

In 1977, Roman Polanski, 44 years old at the time, was arrested in Los Angeles; he pleaded guilty, and released after a 42-day psychiatric evaluation. The case against him was raping the 13-year-old girl Samantha Gailey, now Samantha Geimer at age 45 living with her husband on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. But Polanski fled to UK on February 1, 1978 and from there to France and has had a U.S. arrest warrant against him since 1978. The US authorities issued an international arrest warrant in 2005.

Polanski always avoided visits to countries that were likely to arrest and extradite him to the US, and traveled mostly between France, where he resides and is a French citizen, and Poland. On September 26, 2009, he was arrested, at the request of the U.S. authorities, by Swiss police, on arrival at Zurich Airport. He was visiting Switzerland to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.

As Samantha Geimer had said, Polanski asked her mother if he could photograph the girl for the French edition of Vogue and her mother allowed a private photo shoot. Geimer said in a 2003 interview, "Everything was going fine; then he asked me to change, well, in front of him…. It didn't feel right, and I didn't want to go back to the second shoot." But Geimer later agreed to a second session, which took place on March 10, 1977 at actor Jack Nicholson’s house in Los Angeles. So, there were two sessions and the girl’s mother came to know of what happened from a telephone conversation Geimer had with her boyfriend.

In a 2003 interview, Samantha Geimer said, "Straight up, what he did to me was wrong. But I wish he would return to America so the whole ordeal can be put to rest for both of us… I'm sure if he could go back, he wouldn't do it again. He made a terrible mistake but he's paid for it".

In 2008, Geimer said in an interview that she wishes Polanski would be forgiven, "I think he's sorry, I think he knows it was wrong. I don't think he's a danger to society. I don't think he needs to be locked up forever and no one has ever come out ever, besides me, and accused him of anything. It was 30 years ago now. It's an unpleasant memory ... but I can live with it."

In February 2009, Samantha Geimer filed in the courts to have the charges against Polanski dismissed from court, saying that decades of publicity as well as the prosecutor's focus on lurid details continues to traumatize her and her family.

On September 26, 2009, Polanski was arrested by Swiss police while he was trying to enter Switzerland, to attend the Zurich Film Festival to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. The arrest was in response to a request by the United States that Switzerland arrest Polanski after U.S. investigators learned of his planned trip, which had given them enough time to negotiate with Swiss authorities and plan his arrest.

In 2008 Polanski sought to have the rape charge dismissed and in that context Geimer told The Times that she welcomed an opportunity finally to end the case. "It's been a long time," she said, "I don't wish for him to be held to further punishment or consequences."

In 2003, when Polanski’s film "The Pianist" was nominated for the Academy Award, she wrote an open editorial piece for The Times and said the case should not be a barrier to him winning an Academy Award. She wrote, “Now that he's been nominated for an Academy Award, it's all being reopened. I'm being asked: Should he be given the award? Should he be rewarded for his behavior? Should he be allowed back into the United States after fleeing 25 years ago? Here's the way I feel about it: I don't really have any hard feelings toward him, or any sympathy, either. He is a stranger to me. But I believe that Mr. Polanski and his film should be honored according to the quality of the work. What he does for a living and how good he is at it have nothing to do with me or what he did to me. I don't think it would be fair to take past events into consideration. I think that the academy members should vote for the movies they feel deserve it. Not for people they feel are popular.” And eventually Polanski won the best director Oscar for his film "The Pianist."

But now Roman Polanski will probably remain in prison for months as he fights deportation case. His Swiss attorney filed a request in court today that Polanski be set free while his extradition case gets through the judicial system. Polanski is now living the life of any other jailed suspect, confined to a single cell, with an hour of outdoor exercise a day allowed.

1 comment:

mal1ce said...

OK Maybe he did it. But, what was 13 years old doing in this house. Where was her mother on this time?!!!