Sunday, May 09, 2010

Roman Polanski, statement 02/05/2010

I can remain silent no longer!

Throughout my seven months since September 26, 2009, the date of my

arrest at Zurich Airport, where I had landed with a view to receiving a

lifetime award for my work from the representative of the Swiss Minister of

Culture, I have refrained from making any public statements and have

requested my lawyers to confine their comments to a bare minimum. I

wanted the legal authorities of Switzerland and the United States, as well

as my lawyers, to do their work without any polemics on my part.

I have decided to break my silence in order to address myself directly to

you without any intermediaries and in my own words.

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.

It is true: 33 years ago I pleaded guilty, and I served time at the prison for

common law crimes at Chino, not in a VIP prison. That period was to have

covered the totality of my sentence. By the time I left prison, the judge had

changed his mind and claimed that the time served at Chino did not fulfil

the entire sentence, and it is this reversal that justified my leaving the

United States.

This affair was roused from its slumbers of over three decades by a

documentary film-maker who gathered evidence from persons involved at

the time. I took no part in that project, either directly or indirectly. The

resulting documentary not only highlighted the fact that I left the United

States because I had been treated unjustly; it also drew the ire of the Los

Angeles authorities, who felt that they had been attacked and decided to

request my extradition from Switzerland, a country I have been visiting

regularly for over 30 years without let or hindrance.

I can now remain silent no longer!

I can remain silent no longer because the American authorities have just

decided, in defiance of all the arguments and depositions submitted by third

parties, not to agree to sentence me in absentia even though the same

Court of Appeal recommended the contrary.

I can remain silent no longer because the California court has dismissed

the victim’s numerous requests that proceedings against me be dropped,

once and for all, to spare her from further harassment every time this affair

is raised once more.

I can remain silent no longer because there has just been a new

development of immense significance. On February 26 last, Roger

Gunson, the deputy district attorney in charge of the case in 1977, now

retired, testified under oath before Judge Mary Lou Villar in the presence of

David Walgren, the present deputy district attorney in charge of the case,

who was at liberty to contradict and question him, that on September 16,

1977, Judge Rittenband stated to all the parties concerned that my term of

imprisonment in Chino constituted the totality of the sentence I would have

to serve.

I can remain silent no longer because the request for my extradition

addressed to the Swiss authorities is founded on a lie. In the same

statement, retired deputy district attorney Roger Gunson added that it was

false to claim, as the present district attorney’s office does in their request

300093066.1 3

for my extradition, that the time I spent in Chino was for the purpose of a

diagnostic study.

The said request asserts that I fled in order to escape sentencing by the

U.S. judicial authorities, but under the plea-bargaining process I had

acknowledged the facts and returned to the United States in order to serve

my sentence. All that remained was for the court to confirm this

agreement, but the judge decided to repudiate it in order to gain himself

some publicity at my expense.

I can remain silent no longer because for over 30 years my lawyers have

never ceased to insist that I was betrayed by the judge, that the judge

perjured himself, and that I served my sentence. Today it is the deputy

district attorney who handled the case in the 1970s, a man of

irreproachable reputation, who has confirmed all my statements under

oath, and this has shed a whole new light on the matter.

I can remain silent no longer because the same causes are now

producing the same effects. The new District Attorney, who is handling this

case and has requested my extradition, is himself campaigning for election

and needs media publicity!

I can no longer remain silent because the United States 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.

I can remain silent no longer because I have been placed under house

arrest in Gstaad and bailed in very large sum of money which I have

managed to raise only by mortgaging the apartment that has been my

home for over 30 years, and because I am far from my family and unable to


Such are the facts I wished to put before you in the hope that Switzerland

will recognize that there are no grounds for extradition, and that I shall be

able to find peace, be reunited with my family, and live in freedom in my native land.

Statement issued by Roman Polanski who directed Repulsion.