Swiss government rejects Polanski extradition to United States | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 12.07.2010
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Swiss government rejects Polanski extradition to United States

After months of house arrest in Switzerland, Roman Polanski has been allowed to return to his home in France after the Swiss government turned down an extradition request by the United States.

Roman Polanski

The sex charges date back to 1977

The latest drama relating to Oscar-winning film director Roman Polanski's decades-old child sex scandal has apparently ended as Swiss authorities have rejected an American extradition request and freed him from house arrest.

Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf told reporters at a press conference in Bern on Monday afternoon that the government was unable to ensure that the extradition request was completely valid and without fault.

The Swiss questioned whether Polanski had already served the necessary time before leaving the United States in 1978.

Reporters outside Polanski's house in Gstaad

Polanski had been under house arrest at his chalet in Switzerland since November

"Considering the persisting doubts concerning the presentation of the facts of the case, the request has to be rejected," Widmer-Schlumpf said. "The Franco-Polish filmmaker will not be extradited to the United States and the measures of restriction on his liberty have been lifted."

Polanski's lawyer Herve Temime called the decision "an enormous satisfaction and a great relief after the pain suffered by Roman Polanski and his family."

Illegal sex charges

Polanski, now 76, still faces sentencing for unlawful sex with a minor after a 13-year-old girl claimed in 1977 that he raped her. He was arrested and briefly served time in prison, but fled to France in 1978, where he has citizenship and has been living since.

The long-running drama was suddenly revived last September when Swiss authorities arrested Polanski in Zurich as he was attending a film festival. The following November a Swiss court released him on bail as long as he remained under house arrest at his home in the resort town of Gstaad.

Polanski is known for several films including "Chinatown" and the cult-classic "Rosemary's Baby." In 2003 he won the Academy Award for his direction of the Holocaust-themed "The Pianist," but declined to attend the ceremony in Los Angeles for fear of being arrested.

Author: Andrew Bowen (AFP/AP/Reuters)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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