Swiss won't release Roman Polanski before Friday

ZURICH Tue Dec 1, 2009 5:47am EST

1 of 3. A general view shows the snow covered chalet 'Milky Way', which according to Swiss newspapers, is where Oscar-winning film director Roman Polanski is staying, in the Swiss mountain resort of Gstaad, December 1, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

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ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss authorities will not release film director Roman Polanski into house arrest at his luxury Alpine chalet before Friday, the government said on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Justice Department said Polanski's release from jail would not happen before Friday as he first needs to deposit bail of $4.5 million and electronic monitoring has to be set up at his chalet in the holiday resort of Gstaad.

Polanski is fighting extradition to face U.S. sentencing over a 1977 case of unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty to one count of sex with a minor but fled before the case was concluded, fearing a heavy sentence.

The 76-year-old Oscar-winning director, who holds dual French and Polish citizenship, was arrested at the request of the United States when he flew into Switzerland on September 26 to receive a lifetime achievement prize at a film festival.

The Swiss Justice Department is expected to decide on Polanski's possible extradition within weeks but he could appeal, potentially dragging out the dispute for months. He faces up to two years in a U.S. prison if he is extradited.

Polanski's films include "The Pianist" in 2002 for which he won an Academy Award, "Rosemary's Baby," "Repulsion" and "Knife in the Water."

(Reporting by Anne Richardson, writing by Emma Thomasson; editing by David Stamp)

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