Polanski free, won’t be extradited to US

Switzerland said on Monday it would not send Roman Polanski back to the United States to face sentencing for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977, freeing the Oscar-winning director from 10 months arrest.
Swiss justice minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said she had decided against extradition because of potential technical faults in the US extradition requests but also because Polanski had for years come to Switzerland in good faith.
“He is a free man since 11.30 an today,” she told a news conference in Switzerland’s capital Berne.
“He can go to France or to Poland, anywhere where he will not be arrested,” she said. Polanski, 76, who won a best director Oscar for his moving portrait of life in the Warsaw Jewish ghetto of World War Two in The Pianist, was still at his mountain chalet in the chic ski town of Gstaad, where he had been held under house arrest. The electronic foot bracelet that the Swiss have used to control his movements had been switched off, the minister said. “This is not about qualifying a crime. That is not our duty. This is not about deciding on guilt or innocence,” she said.
The Swiss minister said while the United States could appeal this decision internationally, she did not expect that to happen. The announcement follows months of uncertainty over whether Polanski would have to return to US after having been arrested in September 2009 upon arrival in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award at a film festival.

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