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Roman Polanski moved, for privacy, ahead of prison release

ZURICH (Reuters) - Film director Roman Polanski has been moved from a prison near Zurich to an undisclosed location in a bid to keep private his release on bail on Friday, the Swiss Justice Ministry said.

"He's been taken to another place to protect his privacy and for safety reasons," ministry spokesman Folco Galli said on Thursday.

He declined to give details on where Polanski had been taken but confirmed he would spend his house arrest, which will begin Friday, at his chalet in the skiing resort of Gstaad.

"Transferring him to Gstaad will take place tomorrow," Galli said.

Polanski is fighting extradition to face U.S. sentencing over a 1977 case of unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty to one count of sex with a minor but fled before the case was concluded, fearing a heavy sentence.

The 76-year-old Oscar-winning director, who holds dual French and Polish citizenship, was arrested at the request of the United States when he flew into Switzerland on September 26.

The Swiss Justice Department is expected to decide on Polanski's possible extradition within weeks but he could appeal, potentially dragging out the dispute for months.

Polanski's films include "The Pianist" in 2002 for which he won an Academy Award, "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown."

(Reporting by Sven Egenter; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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