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Swiss Will Not Extradite Polanski to U.S. for Sex Crime Charges

On Monday, Swiss authorities rejected a request to extradite Roman Polanski to the U.S. to face sentencing for unlawful sex with a minor. Polanski was to be sentenced in 1978 for having sex with a 13-year-old girl, but fled to Switzerland hours before the hearing. U.S. authorities have been pursuing him for the last three decades.

U.S. authorities issued an international warrant for the film director's arrest for sex crime charges last fall, and Polanski, 76, was taken into Swiss custody last September. He was arrested by Swiss authorities in Zurich where he had traveled to receive a lifetime achievement award at a film festival. He has been under house arrest at his vacation home in Switzerland after posting 4.5 million bail last December.

The Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police said that U.S. authorities had failed to turn over all the necessary paperwork. At issue in the matter was whether Polanski had already served the necessary time for his sex crime. In 1977, Polanski served 42 days of a 90-day sentence in a Los Angeles prison.

Swiss authorities were unsure whether Polanski had already served his sentence, in which case it would be pointless to send him back to the U.S. to be sentenced to time already served. They said they did not have the appropriate documents to determine whether that was the case.

The Oscar-winning director is a French citizen. He has not returned to the U.S. since fleeing to Europe 30 years ago. U.S. authorities have said that they believe the Swiss freed Polanski, a man they say was convicted of serious child sex charges, on the smallest of technicalities and they say they will continue to pursue him.


Switzerland rejects extradition of Roman Polanski in sex case (The Los Angeles Times)

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