Polanski moved to undisclosed location

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GENEVA -- Authorities acted to protect Roman Polanski from public attention Thursday by moving him from a Zurich area jail to an undisclosed location before his transfer to house arrest in the Swiss Alps.

Polanski was taken from the jail in Winterthur for "security reasons and personal protection," Justice Ministry spokesman Folco Galli said.

Galli declined to say where the 76-year-old director was being held. But he told The Associated Press that Polanski was still expected to be taken to his chalet in the luxury resort of Gstaad on Friday afternoon.

"This doesn't change anything in principle," Galli said. "He will still be transferred tomorrow."

Polanski won't be allowed to leave his house while Switzerland decides whether to extradite him to the U.S. for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl. He will have to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.

The director of such film classics as "Rosemary's Baby," "Chinatown" and "The Pianist" has been in Swiss custody since being arrested Sept. 26 on a U.S. warrant as he arrived in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award at a film festival. Authorities in Los Angeles want him returned to be sentenced after 31 years as a fugitive.

Polanski was initially accused of raping the girl after plying her with champagne and a Quaalude pill during a modeling shoot in 1977. He was indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molestation and sodomy, but he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse.

In exchange, the judge agreed to drop the remaining charges and sent him to prison for a 90-day psychiatric evaluation. The evaluator released Polanski after 42 days, but the judge said he was going to send him back to serve out the 90 days.

The filmmaker fled the U.S. on Feb. 1, 1978, the day he was to be formally sentenced. He has lived since then in France, which does not extradite its citizens.

Polanski claims that the U.S. judge and prosecutors acted improperly in his case. His attorneys will argue before a California appeals court in December that the charges should be dismissed.
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