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By
AFP
Published
Oct 6, 2009
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Penelope Cruz joins 700 celebrities in bid for Polanski release

By
AFP
Published
Oct 6, 2009

PARIS, Oct 5, 2009 (AFP) - Spanish actress Penelope Cruz and French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel have signed a petition for the release of Roman Polanski that on Monday 5 October had grown to include 700 celebrities and film industry figures.


Photo: AFP/Getty Images/File/Jag Gundu

The petition was launched a week ago by the French performance and visual artists association, SACD, after the Polish-French director was detained in Switzerland to face possible extradition to the US to face child sex charges

Adrien Brody, the US actor who starred in Polanski's Oscar-winning "The Pianist," Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal and his director compatriot Guillermo del Toro have also put their names to the list.

Top US directors Woody Allen, David Lynch and Martin Scorsese, were among the first to do so early last week after Polanksi was detained on September 26 as he arrived to receive an award at the Zurich film festival.

Michael Mann, Wim Wenders, Pedro Almodovar, Darren Aronofsky, Terry Gilliam and the Dardenne brothers have also signed up to the petition, whose signatories can be seen at www.sacd.fr.

Polanski was detained in Switzerland after US authorities issued an arrest warrant in connection with the 1978 sex case involving the director and a 13-year-old girl.

Polanski, who pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor after striking a deal with prosecutors, fled the United States on the eve of his sentencing hearing.

The SACD petition does not comment directly on the crime for which Polanski was convicted, instead expressing outrage at his arrest at a film festival.

"It seems inadmissible... that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him," said the association on its website.

"Film-makers, actors, producers and technicians -- everyone involved in international filmmaking -- want him to know that he has their support and friendship," it said.

The high-profile rush to defend Polanski had sparked a backlash by the middle of last week, as a growing number of politicians called for him to face justice over the three-decade-old child sex case.

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