Wed, Dec 30, 2009 - Page 6 News List

Polanski sends a letter of thanks to his supporters

THE GUARDIAN , PARIS

Roman Polanski, the Oscar-winning film director under house arrest on charges of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, has expressed his gratitude to his supporters in an open letter to the French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy.

In his first public comments on the case since being detained in September, the Franco-Polish director says he has been “overwhelmed” by the sympathy he has had from across the world.

“I would like everyone ... to know how heartening it is, when one is locked up in a cell, to hear this murmur of human voices and of solidarity in the morning post,” Polanski writes in the letter. “In the darkest moments, each of their notes has been a source of comfort and hope, and they continue to be so.”

The 76-year-old, who jumped US bail in 1978 after admitting having sex with a minor, was rearrested at the request of US authorities. Instead of picking up the lifetime achievement award at a Swiss film festival he found himself behind bars. He was released on bail earlier this month but officials indicated a decision on his extradition would be made soon.

Polanski’s arrest sparked horror among France’s artistic elite and a petition for his release was signed by hundreds in the film industry. Levy has been one of his most vocal defenders.

“I have not moved one iota,” Levy told Le Parisien at the weekend. “This arrest was a disgrace. This detention was, and still is, a disgrace. This climate of popular justice and lynching ... is still a disgrace.”

Polanski thanked Levy for his support “from the very first day” and asked for his message to go on the Internet to thank all the “unknown friends” who comforted him.

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