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Roman Polanski flight risk 'high,' court says in rejecting bail

October 20, 2009 |  6:45 am

Polanski Roman Polanski suffered another legal setback today when a Swiss court refused to release him on bail out of concern he would leave the country.

Polanski was arrested last month in Zurich and faced extradition to Los Angeles for sentencing in the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl more than three decades ago. Polanski had fled the U.S. before sentencing, saying the judge in the case was not treating him fairly.

The Swiss court in Bellinzona said in its ruling that Polanski, 76, had a "high" flight risk if released on bail.

“The detention of the accused during the entire extradition proceedings is the rule,” Swiss Federal Criminal Court Judge Cornelia Cova said. “This allows Switzerland to meet the obligations of its extradition treaties.”

Roman Polanski received medical treatment for an undisclosed illness over the weekend.

"All I know is that he has been taken from prison for medical attention. I don't know where he is or when he will be returned to prison," the director's attorney, Herve Temime, told Reuters news agency.

Temime told Swiss papers last week that Polanski was depressed and in an "unsettled state of mind" behind bars.

A team of American attorneys for Polanski met with a  U.S. 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 Oct. 7.

Polanski was arrested Sept. 26 in Zurich. He fled the U.S. on the eve of his 1978 sentencing for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. The victim, Samantha Geimer, who told police that Polanski had raped and sodomized her during a photo shoot.

-- Shelby Grad

Photo: Roman Polanski. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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