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Film Director Polanski Asks Swiss Court for Release from Custody


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Lawyers for Oscar-winning film director Roman Polanski, who faces sentencing in the United States for statutory rape, have asked a Swiss court to release him from custody.

A court in Zurich Tuesday said a decision would be made within weeks. Polanski is expected to remain jailed until a ruling is issued and any appeals are complete.

Swiss police arrested Polanski Saturday, as he arrived in Zurich to receive a film award. Authorities said he was detained on a 2005 international alert, and said they were awaiting an extradition request from the United States.

Polanski, famed for such films as Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby, was arrested in the late 1970s in Los Angeles. He was charged with giving drugs and alcohol to a 13-year-old girl and having unlawful sex with her. He fled the United States in 1978 after pleading guilty.

Polanski won an Academy Award in 2003 for the film The Pianist, but did not return to Hollywood to receive the Oscar.

Since then, the victim, now in her 40s, says she does not want him to be jailed.

Earlier this year, a judge in Los Angeles rejected the fugitive's bid to dismiss the case, despite new evidence showing the original trial judge colluded illegally with prosecutors in 1978.

In his ruling, the new judge said there appeared to be substantial judicial misconduct in the original case. However, he said he could not rule on Polanski's dismissal bid until the director returned from exile.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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