The director, jailed in Switzerland, is suffering from an undisclosed ailment

By Karen Nickel Anhalt Peter Mikelbank
October 19, 2009 08:30 AM
Jerzy Dabrowski-KPA/ZUMA Press

Director Roman Polanski was transferred from prison to a Zurich hospital for medical examinations Friday. The hospitalization, which is expected to last several days, involves an undisclosed medical condition.

The famed filmmaker was arrested in September on decades-old rape charges from the U.S., and is awaiting a possible extradition to California.

It’s the second hospitalization for Polanski, 76, who has actually been admitted on at least one previous occasion since his arrest in Zurich on Sept 26.

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The Swiss newspaper Blick reported Monday that he was admitted during the week of Oct. 5 for X-rays. “He was in the radiology department. But not under his own name, he used a pseudonym,” the newspaper reports a hospital staffer as saying.

Polanski’s lawyer, Herve Temime, has continued to express concern over Polanski’s mental and physical health. After visiting with Polanski in prison last week, Temime told journalists that his client was depressed and tired. France’s consul general in Zurich, who has also visited Polanski in prison, expressed similar concerns.

“His general condition is no longer satisfactory,” Temime said in a radio interview. “But the situation isn’t easy for any prisoners, even less so for a man the age of Polanski. One has to be attentive.”

What’s known about Polanski’s ailment is that it’s a pre-existing condition that could not be treated in the prison facilities.

Sources in the justice ministry indicated over the weekend that Polanski is expected back in prison Monday or Tuesday. “It’s probably nothing bad, but Polanski will have to spend a few days in a hospital bed,” a source told Blick.

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A decision concerning the director’s request for release on bond is expected from a Swiss tribunal this week.

Meanwhile, a Paris newspaper is reporting that shortly after the director’s arrest in Zurich on Sept. 26, French President Nicolas Sarkozy personally telephoned President Barack Obama, appealing to him on the director’s behalf. According to the Journal de Dimanche, a source at the Elysees Palace claims the U.S. president brushed aside Sarkozy’s request, saying he was unable to become involved in California’s judicial system.

And Polanski isn’t getting any favors from Sacramento, either. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said no Polanski pardon is forthcoming.