Switzerland - US - France

French welcome Polanski release


Roman Polanski will not be extradited to the United States on child sex abuse charges, Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf announced Monday. French Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner and Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand welcomed the decision. Polanski is now free from the effective house arrest he was under thanks to bail terms.


An investigation has failed to prove that their were no legal faults in the US's extradition request, Widmer-Schumpf told a press conference.

Polanski was arrested and jailed on a US warrant ten months ago but then allowed to leave prison after posting 4.5 million Swiss francs (three million euros) in bail. He was then confined to his 1,800-suare-metre property in the ski resort of Gstaad and fitted with an electronic bracelet.

Polanski welcomed the decision and declared that justice has been done, according to French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who organised a petition in the director's support. Lévy talked to the director on the phone shortly after the news was announced.

Mitterrand said in a statement that he was "delighted for Polanski's wife, Emanuelle Seigner, his children and his friends who have supported him with dignity and determination throughout an ordeal in which the attacks deeply affected them".

"The great Franco-Polish film-maker will now be free to rejoin his family and dedicate himself fully to his artistic activities," Kouchner said.

"Bravo, Switzerland!," declared another supporter, former French Culture Minister Jack Lang.

Polanski was accused of having sex with an under age girl in 1977 and fled the US in 1978 on the eve of being sentenced.

He put the finishing touches to his film the Ghost writer while confined to his home.

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