Cannes Directors Offer Support to Polanski

Group of filmmakers sign letter urging Swiss authorities to deny extradition request

Read full Cannes coverage at Report From Cannes  and WaxWord Cannes.

A group of Cannes Film Festival directors has signed a petition supporting Roman Polanski, and urging Swiss authorities to reject an extradition request from U.S. prosecutors.

Directors signing the petition include Jean-Luc Godard, Mathieu Amalric, Xavier Beauvois and Bertrand Travernier.

The petition reads, in part, "They hereby appeal to the Swiss authorities, entreating them not to believe the word of Governor Schwarzenegger and the prosecutors of the state of California."

The letter was reportedly posted on the website of French philosopher and journalist Bernard-Henri Levy, though it does not appear on the English version of that site.

Polanski is currently under house arrest in Switzerland, fighting an extradition request that, if approved, would bring him to the United States to stand trial on a 33-year-old case in which he pleased guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. Fearing that the judge was going to pass a harsher sentence than the one agreed to in a plea bargain, the director fled the country before sentencing in 1978.

Polanski’s lawyers have accused U.S. prosecutors of deliberately withholding information about that sentencing agreement in the extradition request. The letter signed by the Cannes directors repeats that charge, stating that the extradition request was “based upon a lie.”

Read full Cannes coverage at Report From Cannes  and WaxWord Cannes.