(CN) – Filmmaker and longtime fugitive Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland on Saturday on an international warrant. He faces possible extradition to the United States on charges that he had sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
Polanski, 76, was taken into custody as he arrived in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Zurich Film Festival. U.S. authorities have had an outstanding warrant for his arrest since 1978, when he fled to France.
The Swiss Justice Ministry did not rule out the possibility that Polanski could be released on bail if he agrees not to flee, The Associated Press reported.
The Justice Ministry said the U.S. Justice Department has actively sought the Polish-born director’s arrest since 2005, despite the longstanding warrant.
Earlier this year, a Los Angeles judge rejected Polanski’s bid to have the case against him thrown out based on prosecutorial misconduct. He has appealed the decision to a California appeals court.
Polanski can challenge his extradition to the United States in Swiss courts. Under a 1990 accord between the two countries, the United States has 60 days to formally request his transfer.
Polanski’s films include “Chinatown,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Pianist,” for which he won an Oscar.
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