Academy Award winning filmmaker Roman Polanski has accused the US justice system of using him for "gaining some publicity" in his first ever interview since his headline grabbing arrest seven months ago. The fugitive film-maker who is wanted in the US over a 33-year-old under-age sex case, said that the request for his extradition was "founded on a lie", reported BBC online.
The 76-year-old director who is currently under house arrest in his Swiss alpine chalet, wrote an article for the French online magazine, La Regle du Jeu, breaking his silence and saying that he is not asking for anyone's pity. "I have had my share of dramas and joys as we all have, and I am not going to try to ask you to pity my lot in life, I ask only to be treated fairly like anyone else," wrote the director of acclaimed films like Rosemary's Baby and The Pianist.
Polanski claims that the US wants to serve him "on a platter to the media" and one of his complaints is that Los Angeles County district attorney Steve Cooley, "who is handling this case and has requested (the) extradition, is himself campaigning for election and needs media publicity!".
Swiss authorities are trying to decide whether to extradite Polanski to Los Angeles for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl. "I can no longer remain silent because the US continues to demand my extradition more to serve me on a platter to the media of the world than to pronounce a judgment concerning which an agreement was reached 33 years ago," wrote Polanski.
The filmmaker was arrested seven months ago as he arrived in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award at a film festival. Polanski was put behind bars for more than two months before being transferred on 3 million pound bail to house arrest in the luxury resort of Gstaad.
In 1977 he was initially indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy. He later pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse. What happened after that is a subject of dispute. The defence says the late judge, Laurence Rittenband, had agreed in meetings with lawyers to sentence Polanski to a 90-day diagnostic study and nothing more.
But the judge later changed his mind and summoned Polanski for further sentencing, at which time he fled to his native France, his lawyers said. Polanski claimed the judge "betrayed" him and wanted to gain himself some publicity at his expense.