I can remain silent no longer ! by Roman Polanski

Roman-Polanski_digne3-150x93Throughout my seven months since September 26, 2009, the date of my arrest at Zurich Airport, where I had landed with a view to receiving a lifetime award for my work from the representative of the Swiss Minister of Culture, I have refrained from making any public statements and have requested my lawyers to confine their comments to a bare minimum. I wanted the legal authorities of Switzerland and the United States, as well as my lawyers, to do their work without any polemics on my part.
I have decided to break my silence in order to address myself directly to you without any intermediaries and in my own words.
I have had my share of dramas and joys, as we all have, and I am not going to try to ask you to pity my lot in life. I ask only to be treated fairly like anyone else.
It is true: 33 years ago I pleaded guilty, and I served time at the prison for common law crimes at Chino, not in a VIP prison. That period was to have covered the totality of my sentence. By the time I left prison, the judge had changed his mind and claimed that the time served at Chino did not fulfil the entire sentence, and it is this reversal that justified my leaving the United States.
This affair was roused from its slumbers of over three decades by a documentary film-maker who gathered evidence from persons involved at the time. I took no part in that project, either directly or indirectly. The resulting documentary not only highlighted the fact that I left the United States because I had been treated unjustly; it also drew the ire of the Los Angeles authorities, who felt that they had been attacked and decided to request my extradition from Switzerland, a country I have been visiting regularly for over 30 years without let or hindrance.
I can now remain silent no longer!
I can remain silent no longer because the American authorities have just decided, in defiance of all the arguments and depositions submitted by third parties, not to agree to sentence me in absentia even though the same Court of Appeal recommended the contrary.
I can remain silent no longer because the California court has dismissed the victim’s numerous requests that proceedings against me be dropped, once and for all, to spare her from further harassment every time this affair is raised once more.
I can remain silent no longer because there has just been a new development of immense significance. On February 26 last, Roger Gunson, the deputy district attorney in charge of the case in 1977, now retired, testified under oath before Judge Mary Lou Villar in the presence of David Walgren, the present deputy district attorney in charge of the case, who was at liberty to contradict and question him, that on September 16, 1977, Judge Rittenband stated to all the parties concerned that my term of imprisonment in Chino constituted the totality of the sentence I would have to serve.
I can remain silent no longer because the request for my extradition addressed to the Swiss authorities is founded on a lie. In the same statement, retired deputy district attorney Roger Gunson added that it was false to claim, as the present district attorney’s office does in their request for my extradition, that the time I spent in Chino was for the purpose of a diagnostic study.
The said request asserts that I fled in order to escape sentencing by the U.S. judicial authorities, but under the plea-bargaining process I had acknowledged the facts and returned to the United States in order to serve my sentence. All that remained was for the court to confirm this agreement, but the judge decided to repudiate it in order to gain himself some publicity at my expense.
I can remain silent no longer because for over 30 years my lawyers have never ceased to insist that I was betrayed by the judge, that the judge perjured himself, and that I served my sentence. Today it is the deputy district attorney who handled the case in the 1970s, a man of irreproachable reputation, who has confirmed all my statements under oath, and this has shed a whole new light on the matter.
I can remain silent no longer because the same causes are now producing the same effects. The new District Attorney, who is handling this case and has requested my extradition, is himself campaigning for election and needs media publicity!
I can no longer remain silent because the United States continues to demand my extradition more to serve me on a platter to the media of the world than to pronounce a judgment concerning which an agreement was reached 33 years ago.
I can remain silent no longer because I have been placed under house arrest in Gstaad and bailed in very large sum of money which I have managed to raise only by mortgaging the apartment that has been my home for over 30 years, and because I am far from my family and unable to work.
Such are the facts I wished to put before you in the hope that Switzerland will recognize that there are no grounds for extradition, and that I shall be able to find peace, be reunited with my family, and live in freedom in my native land.
Roman Polanski

(Tr. Janet Lizop)

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15 commentaires

  • Nick Faust dit :

    Please remember, despite the cruelty of the LA court, there are millions of us on this planet who value you as a world class, major artist. We wait patiently for a new film by Roman Polanski and hope that there will be many, many more following the brilliant GHOST WRITER. Though it will not mean much to you now, but the truth is a hundred years from now all this scandal will fade into the background and your films will get top billing when your name is spoken. Roman Polanski, I wish you and your family all the luck in the world. Nick Faust

  • Jeremy dit :

    Outrageous that the Swiss Authorities deny Roman Polanski justice ….. yet during & after WW2, the Swiss were complicit in allowing the Nazis to destroy so many people & countries & continued to help in allowing the Nazis their freedom.

  • MarkSpizer dit :

    great post as usual!

  • Wiborg dit :

    The US have indeed a double agenda, you cannot give a sentence and later change it later. This is just a witch hunt, and better if the « prey » has a progressive mind, and is European. The US legal system is not corrupt? What a joke! What do you think a bunch of rednecks jury would decide after all the media attention, at libertarian Euro criminal trying to escape their holy country? And Switzerland is playing a disgusting role is all of this. If mr. Polanski already did jail time, if justice has made errors and contraditory decisions, if the victim asked to let the case rest, if more than 30 years have passed, let it rest.
    Free Polanski!

  • MECL dit :

    I feel very sorry for the hardships Mr. Polanski has had to go through in his lifetime. I am aware that his life experiences are not comparable to ordinary people, and that he has had a great share of bad luck and horrible pain. For that, I feel very sorry for him.
    But he is not embracing any responsibility for his acts, and seems quite unaware of the role he has played all along. Perhaps his identification with the role of victim has prevented him from realizing that his victim wants nothing to do with him, and will do anything in order to end her ordeal. It is Mr. Polanski who continues to perpetuate the trauma on the victim by refusing to come to the US and face the judge. This is his responsibility, and he still owes that to his victim.

  • No matter what one thinks of Roman Polanski, anybody who has seen Marina Zenovich’s 2008 documentary on this matter, « Wanted and Desired », will walk away believing that the filmmaker, portrayed in the film as a somewhat despicable human being, was given a raw deal by the United States judicial system.

    Rather than trust the media who has profited from reporting on this case for the past 33 years, I think this post was the best way for Polanski to speak directly to the public. Even so, it is unlikely that his statement here will change anyone’s opinion of him or his actions.

  • doreen brown dit :

    Since the historic research from the archives of WW11 have shown the duplicity of the nSwiss authorities there can be no valid reason that they hold Roman Polanski under arrest. He has paid his time for an offence committed long ago and he should be able to complete his gifted work around his family and friends. The USA may have its own problems and should deal with events of to-day with people who are far more dangerous and threatenening to society.

  • jonathan dit :

    oh dear

    my previous post against mr Polanski’s opinions and views seems to have been removed.

    perhaps within ciberspace we are able to retrieve it again, in the name of free speech if Mr Levy believes in this.

    if not I am sure we can re-post it again and again whether it is against Mr Levy’s views or not

    As a « true » philosopher I am sure Mr Levy would be able to accept views contrary to his own friend

    Or maybe this is not the case?

    here it is again after previous removal and if it is removed again it will most definitely be posted all over the world wide web with the clear understanding that if Mr Levy found it unacceptable as a « true » French philosopher he may not be telling the whole truth either

    Dear Mr Polanski

    I cannot remain silent because there appears within your own statement no mention of a “profound sorry and sincere apology” for the deep hurt which you have quite obviously caused this woman and her family which has rested with them for all their lives.

    I cannot remain silent because the majority of your statement seems only concerned about the protection of Yourself.

    I cannot remain silent because although your own parents were killed in the Concentration Camps of Europe and although your own previous wife and children were murdered in Los Angeles this DOES NOT give you the right to abuse others.

    I cannot remain silent because when you are a “film director” in Hollywood does not mean that you have the right to take advantage of anyone significantly younger than you because of your own sexual desires and despite the fact that this often happens in the “very sick film industry” which you represent, whether they are under-age or not.

    I cannot remain silent because when you decide to work and live in a foreign country in order to promote yourself and enhance your career, with no doubt great financial gain and prestige in mind, you have to accept the norms and culture of that country whether you agree with it or not. An intelligent person who decided to live in Saudi Arabia, for example, would be extremely stupid to transgress their own cultural norms.

    I cannot remain silent because although you have decided to moan and complain about the fact that you have mortgaged your own no doubt luxurious residence in Paris, none of your multi-millionaire “Hollywood Friends” seem to have “stepped in” to help you. Perhaps this says more about them than about you and the world which you have chosen to inhabit.

    I cannot remain silent because your own wife knew very well about your past before she agreed to marry you, and with sadness, your own children, born from her, are now taking on this suffering as well.

    I cannot remain silent, Mr Polanski, because maybe it is Time that you faced up to Yourself?

    I cannot remain silent because I know that within the USA Justice System (I am not from the USA myself) it is quite possible for “famous people” to defend themselves as both Michael Jackson and O J Simpson were and are extremely aware. This would obviously not be so easy in places like China or Saudi Arabia for example. You still have this option as you did then in the 1970’s.

    I cannot remain silent because despite the quite enormous suffering you seem to create around you, you do not appear to have learnt your lesson.

    I cannot remain silent because maybe it is time that you chose to live a Hermit Life so that in the future despite your own sad past, you do not continue to cause so much harm and suffering to those that become close to you.

    I cannot remain silent since merely because you have created great films, no doubt with the suffering of others in mind, you do not appear to have practiced the same yourself.

    I cannot remain silent because despite everything, I do not really believe that you are genuinely and honestly telling me the Truth.

    yours sincerely

    Jonathan, a philosopher, in Brussels

  • David Hahn dit :

    Imprisoning Roman Polanski is a completely absurd exercise which reflects more on the Los Angeles and Swiss authorities than about their « usual suspect. » Why are they doing this? Blackmail? Perhaps. Or is it because the film Ghost Writer is closer to the truth than we think. Let him get on with his life!

  • Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  • school grants dit :

    Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

  • MayBell Bareket dit :

    « Silence is acceptance ». Never stay silent when there is injustice. I am glad Roman Polanski broke his silence now that the time was right for him.
    As a devoted fan of Mr. Polanski I hope there is still some sense of real justice and that those who have the power in their hands to set this man free ,as would be the right thing to do, will not misuse their powers any longer for other agendas on account of Mr. Polanski.

    Your cry of anger has been heard Mr. Polanski, I pray soon you will be free and reunited with your family.

  • Sappho dit :

    Oh, Mr. Polanski deserves justice all right. Let’s hope he gets it.

  • Jonna Rebick dit :

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  • John Malcom dit :

    I am disheartened to read several ignorant comments attacking the US Justice system and their juries. Wiborg said « What do you think a bunch of rednecks jury would decide after all the media attention » which followed his claim the the US legal system is engaging in a witch hunt with duplicitous legal reasoning.

    This comment reveals the ignorance of Wiborg, and others, I fear, which undermines any serious consideration of his opinions and conclusions. Wiborg seems not to understand that a jury (a Californian jury, not a US jury as he implies) would never consider the arguments being raised here. The jury would be concerned with issues of fact, not of law, and whether the sentence was served, issued, et cet is wholly removed from jury’s province. Additonally, it is quite unclear why Wiborg supposes a jury would be convened, indeed he does not say, however; it is clear he is, again, confused. A Jury is available to the defendant to try the guilt of the accused, the defendant has no right to obtain one, nor ability to do so, to hear questions as to this sentence or the associated issues.

    Wiborg’s claim that the US justice system is being duplicitous and malicious is completely unfounded- indeed, he doesn’t even allege facts nor profer reasoning in support of this claim. The US Justice system has absolutely no involvement whatsoever in this case aside from their necessary and Constitutionally-mandatted role in addressing the matter of US-Swiss communication as California has no standing to request consideration from the Swiss under bot international law or equity (as the US Constitution reserves all diplomatic issues to the executive of the US save for certain legislatively-delegated functions). It is therefore quite bizarre for the poster to allege the US is at all improper in requesting extradition of a fugitive- which is exactly what Mr. Polanski is to the US, being informed of such by a sovereign US state.

    As to the meat of the matter, I have great sympathy for the position of the US and for the general refusal of California to refuse to entertain petitions from fugitives or others who refuse to appear personally in support of their petition, however; I feel that California has no excuse for insisting on its present position due to the circumstances: namely the lack of prejudice to the state if the court considered the matter without Polanski’s appearance, the substantial questions as to the propreity, both legally and equitablly, of the process thus far, and the fact that the victim requests this matter to be closed- which the law allows for.

    The critisisms of the US in this case reflect a fundamental ignorance of the US Constitution and the federalist system that handles such matters as crime, and it is concerning that people would have such solid convictions without understanding the situation at all.

    The villain in this legal affair, if any, is the State of California, and its legal representative in this matter. The US has done nothing improper, and by all accounts has acted completely proper.(It is worth noting, further, that while California’s position is ill considered, it is not fundamentally unfair and certainly not unusual- comonlaw legal systems have generally always required the movant to appear and neglected petitions from fugitives)

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