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Celebrated film director Roman Polanski was arrested at the Zurich
airport on Saturday in connection with his 1977 U.S. conviction for
having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
The 76-year-old Polanski, a French citizen, could face extradition to the United States to face sentencing in the case, for which an outstanding arrest warrant exists.
Polanski, acclaimed for films such as Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown, and The Pianist, was traveling to Switzerland to receive an award at the Zurich Film Festival. His latest film, The Ghost, is scheduled for release in 2010.
The director is expected to oppose the extradition attempt, according to The New York Times.
"Assuming Mr. Polanski does not waive his right to appeal the extradition, he can challenge the arrest warrant and any eventual extradition order and appeal both issues in the Swiss federal penal court of justice," said Guido Balmer, a spokesman for the Swiss federal justice department, according to the Times. "If he were to lose those appeals, he could then get a final hearing on both issues at the Federal Court of Justice."
Polanski pleaded guilty in 1977 to one count of having sex with a minor and prosecutors agreed not to pursue rape, sodomy, and other charges, but Polanski left the United States after he became convinced that the judge would backpedal on the plea arrangement and send him to prison.
From France, Polanski settled a civil suit with the victim, Samantha Geimer, for an unspecified amount; Geimer has since publicly forgiven Polanski.