Artists rally for Polan­ski

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH AND JES­SICA ELGOT

SOME OF the world’s top film­mak­ers and artists have de­fended di­rec­tor Ro­man Polan­ski fol­low­ing his ar­rest for rap­ing a thir­teen year old girl more than 30 years ago.

Woody Allen, Wim Wen­ders and Bri­tish di­rec­tor Stephen Frears are among more than 130 Hol­ly­wood names to have signed a pe­ti­tion de­mand­ing his release and pledg­ing to fight his ex­tra­di­tion to the US.

Mr Polan­ski was on his way to the Zurich Film Fes­ti­val to col­lect a life­time achieve­ment award when he was ar­rested by Swiss po­lice on Satur­day. The 76-year-old Holo­caust sur­vivor has not re­turned to the US since plead­ing guilty to drug­ging and rap­ing Sa­man­tha Geimer in 1977. He now lives in France and holds French cit­i­zen­ship.

Writ­ing in the In­de­pen­dent, movie mogul Har­vey We­in­stein called on Amer­i­can film­mak­ers to lobby against the ex­tra­di­tion. He wrote: “What­ever you think about the so-called crime, Polan­ski has served his time. A deal was made with the judge, and the deal is not be­ing hon­oured.” French philoso­pher Bernard-Henry Lévy said Switzer­land had more se­ri­ous crim­i­nal mat­ters to deal with than “a youth­ful er­ror”.

Pub­lic opin­ion in France has been more hos­tile to­wards the di­rec­tor, how­ever, and Pol­ish Prime Min­is­ter Don­ald Tusk crit­i­cised his For­eign Min­is­ter, Radek Siko­rski, for sup­port­ing the anti-ex­tra­di­tion calls.

Ms Geimer pre­vi­ously asked for the charges to be dropped and af­ter su­ing Mr Polan­ski was awarded an undis­closed set­tle­ment.

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