Polanski to collect award two years after arrest
ZURICH (Reuters) - Director Roman Polanski is to collect an award from the Zurich Film Festival intended for him in 2009, when he was arrested en route to the ceremony on charges related to a sex crime more than 30 years ago, organizers said on Thursday.
The 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, 2009, when he was due to pick up a lifetime achievement award.
The tribute ceremony will be followed by the world premiere of a non-fiction film, but no further details will be released before the official screening on September 27, organizers said in a statement.
"We are especially proud to welcome Roman Polanski this year to receive his award," directors Karl Spoerri and Nadja Schildknecht said in a statement.
"We have always been tremendous admirers of his work and we are delighted that we will soon be able to express this to him in person."
Polanski, who directed films such as "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby," pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl after a binge of champagne and drugs.
But he fled the United States on the eve of his 1978 sentencing because he believed a judge might put him in jail for 50 years.
His arrest in Switzerland in 2009 prompted an outcry in the global film industry and in political circles in France, where he has been a long-time resident, with directors from Woody Allen to Martin Scorsese and Jean-Luc Godard expressing support for the Polish-French artist.
Polanski, who won a best director Oscar for his portrait of life in the Warsaw Jewish ghetto of World War Two in "The Pianist," spent two months in a Swiss jail in the autumn of 2009 and was then placed under house arrest at his chalet in the upmarket Swiss ski resort of Gstaad.
In July 2010 Swiss authorities said they would not extradite the 78-year-old to the United States, because of potential technical faults in the U.S. request.
(Reporting by Catherine Bosley; Editing by Stephanie Nebehay and Paul Casciato)
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