Roman Polanski broke his months-long silence on Sunday, claiming he’s being treated unfairly by being kept in Switzerland while facing the possibility of extradition to the United States for a decades old crime.
In the statement printed on a French magazine Web site, the 76-year old director of Chinatown and The Pianist says, “I have decided to break my silence in order to address myself directly to you without any intermediaries and in my own words. I have had my share of dramas and joys, as we all have, and I am not going to try to ask you to pity my lot in life. I ask only to be treated fairly like anyone else.”
Polanski accuses American authorities of trying to extradite him for publicity and “to serve me on a platter to the media of the world.”
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Reconstructing the case in his own words, the filmmaker, who pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex with a minor in 1977, says that he served 49 days in jail, which was a “period that was to have covered the totality of my sentence.”
He claims that the judge at the time, who died in 1993, later “changed his mind and claimed that the time served … did not fulfill the entire sentence, and it is this reversal that justified my leaving the United States.”
Swiss authorities are trying to decide whether to extradite Polanski to Los Angeles for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl.
The award-winning director has not been back to the U.S. since fleeing the country over 30 years ago. He was arrested last September in Zurich and has been under house arrest in Switzerland while legal processes on two continents play out.
“I can remain silent no longer because I have been placed under house arrest in Gstaad,” writes Polanski, “and because I am far from my family and unable to work.”
Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles district attorney, told the New York Times, “We will withhold comment until the Swiss make a decision on his fugitive status.”
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