[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]
Lots of interesting bits on this article about Polanski winning an award given out by a bunch of people I never heard of before, don’t care much about. But in case you do care:
Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer,” a story of a journalist hired to write the memoirs of a British prime minister, has won the prize for best film at the European Film Awards.
But it seems he doesn’t totally feel safe picking up his award in person:
“You have awarded a truly European venture. This is too much … thank you very much,” Polanski said in an acceptance speech through a Skype connection from an unknown location. “I wish to thank—before anything—this wonderful crew I had, a truly European crew.”
(Emphasis added.) And then as usual, the AP mangles the facts:
As he was finishing the movie in September 2009 Polanski was taken into custody at Zurich airport by Swiss police at the request of U.S. authorities to face prosecution in a 1977 child sex case. He had to finish editing the film while in Swiss prison before being released on house arrest.
In July, Polanski was freed after the Swiss government declined to deport him to the United States. But he still faces an Interpol warrant in 188 countries. Most European nations, including Estonia, have an extradition treaty with the United States.
To “face prosecution”? No, to face sentencing. Now he might also be prosecuted for fleeing the jurisdiction, but not for raping a child.
And would it kill them to call the crime “raping a child?”
Meanwhile, Ewan McGregor has the unintentionally funny line in the piece (emphasis added):
McGregor, who played the ghostwriter, said he had a “fantastic time” while making the film.
“More than any other part I’ve played I feel like the director Roman Polanski had his hands really on my performance and is as worthy of this award as I am,” McGregor told the audience through a video message from Thailand, where he is currently shooting a film.
Kids, do not let Roman touch your performance. And he tries to, run and tell an adult (but not Ewan McGregor).
Update: Hat tip to SPQR in the comments who pointed me in the direction of this story:
Swiss Right Wins Vote on Deportation of Criminals
GENEVA — After heated debate and a campaign utilizing controversial “black sheep” posters, Switzerland’s far-right party won voters’ support in a referendum Sunday that calls for the automatic deportation of foreigners who are convicted of serious crimes….
Final results of the poll showed that 52.9 percent of voters and a majority of Switzerland’s cantons supported the rightist Swiss People’s Party initiative calling for the expulsion of foreigners convicted of crimes ranging from murder and rape to drug dealing and social security fraud.
Legal experts have warned that automatic deportation could violate a 1999 agreement between Switzerland and the European Union that provides for freedom of movement in the Continent. The government also expressed concern that the measure would breach Switzerland’s obligation not to return people to countries that practice torture.
But those arguments evidently made little impression on voters uneasy over a large immigrant population.
A counter-proposal by the government and center-right parties opposed to the People’s Party initiative that was also put to the vote in the referendum failed to garner a majority in any of the cantons and won support from only 46 percent of voters. The counter-proposal also would have toughened provisions for deporting foreigners, but it would have allowed a judge to review each case.
There is no mention in the New York Times article about whether the Polanski situation inspired this law, or what the proposal actually is. For the second part, you have to go to, of all things, the Amnesty International website which explains that:
If the results of the referendum known as the ’Deportation Initiative’ are implemented, the Swiss constitution would be amended to permit the “automatic” and immediate deportation of non-citizens convicted for certain criminal offences to their countries of origin.
So if they are characterizing this correctly, this allows for automatic deportation—which AA and a few other sources understand to mean without any judicial review. Depending on how it is written, it might mean merely that they have no business exercising mercy, but they can make sure that the person is actually convicted, etc. of the relevant crimes. And if it only allows for such deportations, then this doesn’t mean that the legislature has to put that into effect. I mean, Congress is allowed to pass an income tax under the constitution, but that doesn’t mean it has to.
They even show you what the hell that “black sheep” ad was and it is pretty hard to defend:
And while cases like the Polanski case makes me sympathize with this law’s impulse, it is still wrong. For instance, if a man said something critical of Switerland, could that country get him expelled from China by convicting him of trumped up charges? At the very least, if I was in Switzerland, I would advocate that the automatic expulsion only apply when the convictions are in certain countries that practice a modicum of due process. Switzerland can rationally say the United States of America is not the same as China.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]