Polanski tries for release

Roman Polanski will today try to win release from the Swiss prison cell where he is being held awaiting extradition to the US.

His lawyers will ask a court that he be freed while awaiting a decision over sending him to America.

Polanski, director of such classic films as “Chinatown” and “Rosemary’s Baby,” was arrested Saturday as he arrived in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award from a film festival.

Authorities in Los Angeles consider Polanski a convicted felon and fugitive. The director had pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse in 1977 with a girl of 13. He was sent to prison for 42 days, but the judge tried to renege on the plea bargain.

On the day of his sentencing in 1978, aware the judge would sentence him to more prison time, Polanski fled to France.

The 76-year-old filmmaker, who has dual French-Polish nationality, has been the focus of an international tug-of-war, as France and Poland both want him released from prison.

Their foreign ministers have pressed US officials all the way up to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the case.

Swiss officials, however, have said there will be no sudden decisions on the matter. Any verdict on Polanski’s release would probably take a few days, and would be subject to immediate appeals from both sides.

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