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The New York Daily News have reported that Roman Polanski has been ‘freed’ after Sarkozy intervened on his behalf. Of course, it’s not as black and white as that. They later point out that actually,

After initially balking at his release, Swiss authorities agreed to let Polanski move from a cell to his luxurious Alpine chalet once he puts up $4.5 million bail.

So he’s on bail. He could (SHOULD) still face US courts.

But I still can’t help but feel an overwhelming desire to scream ‘what the fuck?!’ at these empty skies, in desperation. I do not understand how people can help this man. If it were your average Joe who had raped a 13 year old, the public would be baying for his blood. But because he’s a wealthy, arty man with ‘good’ connections, he can get away with rape.  He can have celebrities calling for his release, claiming he’s been treated unfairly, believing that his (admittedly horrible) past excuses in some way the heinous crime he committed.

This is the President of France, supporting a rapist. What message does that send to the people of France? What message does it send to the rest of the world, about how France responds to such incidents? He is in no way acting as an individual, he acts as representative of the people of his country, and he has just bailed a rapist.

It sickens me. It sickens me that I should even have to be writing this, that people could even go so far as to support this man. And it makes me feel so helpless, when all these bigshots get to twist the law around their little fingers. And it frightens me, that you can get away with rape if you are rich and famous. That is terrifying, and wrong.

All of this is so wrong.

I have just returned from meeting Emma Thompson. While I would love to dwell on the experience – how friendly she is, how compassionate and how incredibly driven she is, there is a more important issue I need to address.

I took Emma the petition I had drawn up about Roman Polanski, with the 410 signatures and everyone’s comments. Any comments that I was aware of that didn’t show up on the petition, I took as a separate document. I also took the wording of the petition she had signed, and information about another petition (to be found here) which has over 3,000 signatures supporting Polanski’s arrest. (For anyone who doesn’t know about Roman Polanski, all of the information is in the petition I’ve linked to above)

Emma did not have much time between meetings, but she gave me all of the time that she had. I asked her why she had signed the petition, and she explained about how well she knows Polanski, how terrible his life has been, and how forgiving the survivor of the rape all those years ago now is. She said she thought the intentions of the judge were unclear, as were the intentions of those who arrested him recently. She told me that a lot of her friends had rung her up asking her to sign the petition, so there had been a certain amount of pressure. She said that she had already been thinking a lot about the petition, as others had expressed their dismay at her signing it.

I handed her our petition and the comments. She read them both through thoroughly, and came back to me. She said, while she supported Polanski as a friend, a crime is a crime. I don’t know whether she had realised the extent of Polanski’s crime, but she is now fully aware. She will remove her name from the petition – in fact, she said she would call today and sort it out. Even though, she stressed, Polanski has had some truly terrible experiences in his lifetime, experiences that we couldn’t even imagine and which should not be taken out of the equation, she agreed that she could not put her name to a petition asking for his release.

Assuming that she will be true to her word, her name will be removed in the very near future. Hopefully the press will pick up on it.

She left me with this, to pass on to everyone who has signed the petition/raised awareness of this issue: “Know that I will remove my name because of you, and all of the good work that you have been doing. I have read your petition. I have heard you. And I will listen.”

I hope that this will encourage others to do the same, as I really do believe that many of those who have signed the Polanski petition did so not knowing what it was that they were signing.

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