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US vows to pursue Polanski extradition
The United States expressed disappointment at Switzerland’s refusal to extradite Roman Polanski and promised to continue pursuing the French-Polish director over a child sex case.
The decision not to extradite Polanski was based on a “fault” in the US extradition, the Swiss Justice Ministry announced on Monday.
Polanski admitted having had sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977, plying her with alcohol and drugs and ignoring her protests. This happened at a photo shoot at the Hollywood home of actor Jack Nicholson. The United States have been pursuing him since then as he fled the country after a plea bargain.
The United States argues that the facts are clear and that the crime should be punished. Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley called the Swiss decision “a disservice to justice and other victims as a whole”.
Poland and France however hailed the decision and thanked the Swiss Justice for what Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski called a “prudent decision”.
Polanski also expressed his gratitude and left his Swiss chalet on Monday, where he was kept under surveillance. His destination remains secret.
Besides outraging the United States, Switzerland’s decision to dismiss the US extradition request sparked media debate in Switzerland on whether it marked judicial independence or favoured the film-maker.
La Tribune de Genève noted that although there is strong backing for the reason in rejecting the US request, “there is still a victim” in an editorial titled “Roman Polanski leaves, the facts remain”.
Roman Polanski was arrested by Swiss police in September 2009 on a US warrant and put in prison. He was then granted bail and put under surveillance in his Swiss chalet in Gstaad.