By Peter Allen
Disgraced Roman Polanski is set to be extradited to the U.S. under armed guard after a bid to halt the process was rejected. It follows French head of state Nicolas Sarkozy hand-delivering a personal letter to Barack Obama from the film director asking to be spared jail – a move which apparently failed because the American President refused even to read the note.
Lawyers for 76-year-old Polanski applied to have his child sex case heard in absentia, meaning he could remain under house arrest in Switzerland. Meanwhile, in Switzerland: Roman Polanski with friends while on house arrest .But a California appeals court rejected the bid outright yesterday, paving the way for the extradition process to continue.
If it is successful Polanski is likely to fly to America as a captured fugitive with federal agents in September, said a Swiss judicial source. Polanski is wanted on child sex charges after fleeing the U.S. 32 years ago following the rape of a 13-year-old girl.
He was arrested in Switzerland last September as he travelled to a film festival and is fighting extradition while under house arrest in his luxury chalet in the ski resort of Gstaad.
His latest appeal includes a sworn statement by his victim, Samantha Geimer, saying that the 1977 charge should be dropped. But the California 2nd District Court of Appeal dismissed Polanski’s application without issuing an opinion. Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama in Washington earlier this month
They also rejected the petition by Miss Geimer, who is now a mother of three living in Hawaii. Allowing prosecution witnesses to end cases by simply forgiving a criminal would set an unacceptable precedent, the court heard. Swiss Justice Ministry spokesman Folco Galli said Polanski will only be extradited if he receives a sentence longer than six months.