Oscar winning director Roman Polanski moved a step closer to being extradited back to America Tuesday after the Swiss Government rejected an appeal to release him from prison.
Ministry spokesman Folco Galli explained the decision was made on the basis that they feel there is a high risk that Polanski might flee the country if he was released from jail.
The Chinatown and The Pianist directors lawyers have filed a separate court case as they try desperately to stop him being sent back to America.
He was arrested in Switzerland on September 26 as he arrived at the Zurich Film Festival US authorities want him extradited for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
Polanski was accused of plying the underage girl with champagne and part of a Quaalude pill during a modeling shoot and then raping her.
He was initially indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy. He eventually pled guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse.
Following Tuesday’s decision, it is likely he will have to remain in prison for months as his parallel case in the Swiss courts progresses.
The Federal Criminal Court has said it will rule in the case in the “next weeks,” and a verdict in either direction can be appealed to the country’s highest judicial body, the Federal Tribunal.
Polanski has received backing from directors and film stars in Hollywood and Europe, and from government officials in France and Poland, where he holds citizenship.
But some of that support has waned since the original shock of his arrest, with leading French and Polish officials urging a more restrained reaction considering the crime.
Polanski and the victim, Samantha Geimer, reached a $500,000 settlement in October 1993, according to documents recently released in Los Angeles.
Geimer, who long ago identified herself, sued Polanski in December 1988 when she was 25 years old, alleging sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and seduction.
Now married with three children and living in Hawaii she has since joined in Polanski’s bid for dismissal and has forgiven him.