JUSTICE

Switzerland denies Polanski release on bail

The Swiss justice ministry has denied bail to Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski. The French-Polish national remains in custody pending extradition to the US, where he was charged with having unlawful sex with a 13 year-old in 1977.

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REUTERS - Switzerland denied a request to release film director Roman Polanski, who was arrested in September after fleeing sentencing for a decades-old sex charge, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

Polanski pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977 but fled the United States on the eve of his 1978 sentencing because he believed a judge might overrule his plea and put him in jail for 50 years.

"In our view, there is still a very high risk that he will flee and that a release on bail or other measures after a release cannot guarantee Polanski's presence in the extradition procedure," Federal Office of Justice spokesman Folco Galli said.

The justice office asked a Swiss Penal Court to reject Polanski's appeal to be released, Galli said.

The 76-year-old 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 Sept. 26 to receive a lifetime achievement prize at a film festival.

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