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Poland, France to ask US for Polanski pardon: report

Poland and France will ask the United States to free director Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski from three decade old charges that he had sex with an underage girl, which led to his detention on Sunday, Poland's PAP news agency reported.

world Updated: Sep 28, 2009 01:45 IST

Poland and France will ask the United States to free director Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski from three decade old charges that he had sex with an underage girl, which led to his detention on Sunday, Poland's PAP news agency reported.

The Polish and French foreign ministers Radoslaw Sikorski and Bernard Kouchner discussed the arrest of Polanski -- a French-Polish national -- by telephone and agreed to make a joint approach to the US authorities, PAP reported.

Their ministries will ask US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton "to ask Switzerland to release Roman Polanski, detained pending extradition, and for her to envisage the possibility of a pardon from President Barack Obama," PAP quoted Sikorski as saying.

The director, 76, was arrested on Saturday as he arrived in Switzerland to receive a special award at the Zurich film festival.

US authorities have been pursuing the "Rosemary's Baby", "Chinatown" and "The Pianist" director for many years. The Swiss Justice Ministry said Polanski was being held to await possible extradition to the United States.

Polanski fled the United States in 1978 before sentencing on a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. He admitted the charge at the time and has never returned.

A Swiss justice ministry spokesman said Polanski was being held under a 2005 international alert issued by the US government, related to a 1978 arrest warrant.