Roman Polanski Is Granted Bail, Will Be Released to House Arrest

Swiss court releases Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski on bail.

ByABC News
November 25, 2009, 2:26 PM

Nov. 26, 2009 — -- Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski will be released from prison and put under house arrest, pending his extradition to the United States.

Swiss authorities said today that Polanski, who has been in prison for two months, will be released to his chalet in Gstaad as soon as he hands over his travel documents and is equipped with an electronic monitoring bracelet.

The Swiss Federal Court of Bellizona said Wednesday that it considered the nearly $4.49 million bail, along the electronic monitoring, "sufficient to avert the risk of flight" while Polanski fights extradition to the United States.

The Swiss Ministry of Justice, which had the ability to appeal the decision, said today that it would not object to the court's ruling.

Polanski, 76, is not expected to be released today.

The director of "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby" has been in a Swiss jail since he was arrested Sept. 26 at the Zurich airport while on the way to accept an award at a film festival. He was charged as a fugitive from U.S. charges that he had sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

Janusz Morgenstern, a Polish film director and close friend of Polanski's, said his friend is suffering from depression and has lost about 30 pounds since his arrest.

"His fear of the U.S. verges on panic and he has lived with that fear for so long that it's become obsessive," Morgenstern told a Polish radio reporter.

Morgenstern added that Polanski pulled his children out of school because "other kids were giving them a hard time" and he wants to try to avoid cameras as much as possible.

"Roman wants as little visual documentation of these hysterics as possible," he added.

Polanski's lawyers Lorenz Erni in Zurich and Herve Temime in Paris declined to comment, according to the Associated Press. The Los Angeles County district attorney's office also had no reaction, spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales told the AP.

The court's decision to grant the director bail does not affect the Swiss Justice Ministry's ongoing assessment of whether Polanski should be extradited to the United States.

Polanski is wanted in the United States after pleading guilty in 1977 to having sex with 13-year-old Samantha Geimer at the home of actor Jack Nicholson.