A Cozy Little Place in Gstaad: Polanski House Arrest Begins

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on December 04, 2009 10:11 AM

The Old Testament says, there is no peace for the wicked. Unless, of course they happen to have an nice chalet in Gstaad and the support of the President of France. Such is the luck of acclaimed and accursed film director Roman Polanski, released from jail today to begin his house arrest, Swiss chalet style.

Polanski fled the U.S. after pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor stemming from a charge of rape and five additional counts in 1977. After a a celebrated career as a director and as a fugitive from justice, Polanski was finally arrested after leaving the safe haven of France to accept a lifetime achievement award from the Zurich Film Festival. That turned out to be a small miscalculation.

Initially speaking out against the arrest of the 76 year-old film maker, French President Nicolas Sarkozy fell silent but evidently went to work behind the scenes to allow Polanski to be moved from his cell to house arrest after making the $4.5 million bail. President Sarkozy was inconveniently outed by the director's sister-in-law, Mathilde Seigner, who told Le Parisien Newspaper, "I wouldn't go so far as to say that it is thanks to the President that Roman has been freed, but he has been super. The President has been very effective." 

Indeed he has. After initially balking at releasing Polanksi due to his storied history as a flight risk, the Swiss authorities have capitulated and will allow Polanski to remain at his home with an electronic monitoring device in place. He will officially be under house arrest and the monitoring device will sound an alarm if he leaves.

However, it seems that the ankle device Lindsey Lohan had to wear was more sophisticated than the one available to the Gstaad authorities. Unfortunately, as the London Times online reports, "that while the bracelet will help police to monitor if Mr. Polanski is staying put at his chalet during his house arrest, experts said that if he fled, the set-up was not equipped with global positioning system and would therefore not help to track him down."

"The canton of Bern uses the first generation system," said Jonas Peter Weber, a professor at the University of Bern. 

An extradition hearing will be held on December 10th in Los Angeles.

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