Roman Polanski a Free Man as US Extradition Rejected
Roman Polanski is now out of reach of US law enforcers after the Swiss government turned down a request to extradite the film director in connection with a charge of having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl more than 30 years ago.
The Swiss government cited the US’s failure to approve a request for the confidential testimony given by the lawyer who handled the original case against Polanski. The Swiss government said lawyer Roger Gunson’s January 26 testimony was important as it would prove whether Polanski had actually served his sentence when he agreed to a 90-day prison sentence for purposes of psychiatric evaluation in 1978. Polanski, who pleaded guilty to the charge of having sex with a minor to avoid graver charges like rape and sodomy, was released from prison after 42 days with the evaluator attesting that he was of sound mind and was not likely to repeat the offence.
“If this were the case, Roman Polanski would actually have already served his sentence and therefore both the proceedings on which the US extradition request is founded and the request itself would have no foundation,” the Swiss Justice Ministry said in a statement. “Mr. Polanski can now move freely. Since 12:30 today he’s a free man,” Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said.
Polanski had been under house arrest since December at his Swiss chalet in the resort of Gstaad. Widmer-Schlumpf said Polanski can now leave the house any time he decides to. With the Swiss decision, the only way that the US can extradite the 76-year-old Oscar-winning director is if he travels to a country whose government is willing to arrest him.