Polanski release could take more time: French envoy

Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:23pm EST
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ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss authorities will not release Roman Polanski into house arrest at his luxury Alpine chalet for a few more days, the French consul said Monday.

After visiting the director in jail, French Consul Jean-Luc Faure-Tournaire told waiting journalists Polanski was well but his release might not happen for a few more days.

A spokesman for the Swiss Justice Department declined to give any time, but said Polanski still needed to deposit his bail of $4.5 million and that electronic monitoring needed to be set up at his chalet in Gstaad.

Polanski's is fighting extradition to face U.S. sentencing over a 1977 case of unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.

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.

Polanski was originally indicted on six charges, including rape, for having sex after plying the girl with champagne and drugs. He pleaded guilty to one count of sex with a minor.

But he skipped bail and fled before the case was concluded, believing a judge would sentence him to prison despite a plea for time already served.

The Swiss Justice Department is expected to decide "within weeks" on Polanski's possible extradition, but he could still appeal, potentially dragging out the dispute for months. He faces up to two years in a U.S. prison if he is extradited.

Polanski's films include "The Pianist" in 2002 for which he won an Academy Award, "Rosemary's Baby," "Repulsion" and "Chinatown."

(Reporting by Arnd Wiegmann, writing by Emma Thomasson; editing by Robin Pomeroy)

<p>Polish director Roman Polanski at the 60th Cannes Film Festival, May 20, 2007. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier</p>