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Roman Polanski suffers another setback in efforts to be released from jail

October 15, 2009 |  7:23 am

Roman Polanski suffered another setback in his efforts to be released from a Swiss jail.

Polanski was arrested as he arrived in Zurich for a film festival, and L.A. authorities want him returned to the U.S. to face sentencing in a three-decade-old sex assault case involving a 13-year-old girl.

Polanski supporters have called the arrest unfair, but Swiss justice officials last week refused to release the famed director.

And now, the Swiss parliament's Foreign Policy Commission has backed up that decision, saying the arrest based on a U.S. criminal warrant was justified.

"Switzerland as a country of law could not have acted differently," the commission concluded. "No special treatment for prominent personalities can be considered when it comes to crimes."

Attorneys for Polanski are lobbying U.S. federal officials not to extradite him.

A team of American attorneys for Polanski met with a deputy assistant attorney general and other Justice Department officials Oct. 2 and presented them with arguments against returning the director to the U.S. to face sentencing on a statutory rape charge, according to a letter included in an appellate court filing.

His supporters have questioned the timing of the arrest, noting Polanski has been to Switzerland many times and even has a chalet at a Swiss resort.

But Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf insisted that authorities never knew Polanski traveled to Switzerland -- until L.A. prosecutors informed them that the director planned to attend the festival.

-- Shelby Grad

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