Swiss to release Polanski as soon as bail posted

Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:21pm EST
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By Lisa Jucca

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss authorities will release Roman Polanski into house arrest as soon as he posts $4.5 million bail while the film director fights extradition to face U.S. sentencing over a 1977 case of sex with a 13-year-old girl.

The Justice Department said on Thursday that it had decided not to appeal against a decision by the Swiss Federal Criminal Court granting Polanski's request for release, and would free him as soon as bail conditions are met.

But Interpol, the global police organization, warned member countries to stay vigilant as Polanski had previously skipped bail and defied court orders.

"Mr Polanski has given us more than 30 years of proof that he does not feel bound to respect any court decision with which he does not agree," Interpol said in a statement.

The 76-year-old Oscar-winning director, who holds dual French and Polish citizenship, was arrested at the request of the United States when he flew into Switzerland on September 26 to receive a lifetime achievement prize at a film festival.

The Swiss court ruled on Wednesday that Polanski could be released against bail of 4.5 million Swiss francs ($4.51 million) but must be kept under house arrest at his chalet in the luxury ski resort of Gstaad.

"Polanski will be released from custody as soon as bail has been transferred, ID and travel documents have been lodged, and the electronic monitoring system has been installed and tested," the Justice Department said in a statement.

The court had noted the bail was a "substantial portion" of Polanski's fortune and said the director had raised the cash from a French bank using his Paris apartment as security. His lawyer and family have also said that he would not flee.   Continued...