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article imageFilmmakers, French officials outraged over Polanski arrest

By Andrew Moran     Sep 28, 2009 in World
On Saturday, Roman Polanski was arrested by Swiss authorities over a sex charge pending from the 1970s. Now European filmmakers and French government officials are upset over his arrest.
"He’s a brilliant guy and he made a little mistake 32 years ago — what a shame for Switzerland," said photographer Otto Weisser, a friend of Polanski, according to CNN.
Filmmakers in Europe have reacted negatively over Roman Polanski’s arrest. The Polish Filmmakers Associated posted a letter on its website demanding the release of the 76-year-old director, “arbitrary treatment of one of the world’s most outstanding film directors.”
The letter was signed by directors Wim Wenders, Volker Schloendorff and Bertrand Tavernier, actress Victoria Abril, cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, screenwriter and actor Jean-Claude Carriere.
On Monday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner released a statement saying that he hoped Swiss authorities would treat the Polish filmmaker with the utmost respect. Kouchner went as far as asking United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to release Polanski on bail and called his arrest “a bit sinister.”
The French Culture and Communications Minister Frederic Mitterand said he was astonished when he heard that the director of “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Chinatown” was arrested and that he expresses solidarity with Polanski’s family. Polanski has a wife, French actress Emanuelle Seigner, and two children.
Mitterand further added that “he wants to remind everyone that Roman Polanski benefits from great general esteem and has exceptional artistic creation and human qualities.” Mitterand concluded his statement about the United States and their treatment of the case, according to the Los Angeles Times, “In the same way that there is a generous America that we like, there is also a scary America that has just shown its face."
British novelist Robert Harris believes the arrest was politically motivated and that no man who is 76-years-old should be arrested and should be treated in such a way “distinguished, or not.”
Herve Temime, Polanski's lawyer, told France Info radio, according to Global News, that he was stunned but, nevertheless, they have begun to request his release, which should be done by the end of the day, “There is no reason in law, or regarding the facts or in terms of the most basic justice to keep Roman Polanski a single day in prison
Polanski was arrested on his way to the Zurich Film Festival, which was holding a tribute to the Polish filmmaker, as Digital Journal reported over the weekend. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office wants Polanski extradited to the United States for his charge, which he pleaded guilty in the 1970s after he allegedly conducted sexual acts with a minor.
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