Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski will not be extradited to the U.S. to face sexual abuse charges. Today, the Swiss Justice Ministry announced, "The 76-year-old French-Polish film director Roman Polanski will not be extradited to the USA. The freedom-restricting measures against him have been revoked." The AP reports, "The Swiss mostly blamed U.S. authorities for failing to provide confidential testimony about Polanski's sentencing procedure in 1977-1978. The Justice Ministry also said that national interests were taken into consideration in the decision."
Polanski, who fled the U.S. after pleading guilty to "unlawful sex" a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles in 1977 (the rape charges were dropped in exchange for the plea) and never returned, was arrested last September, causing the French to denounce the U.S. and his famous friends to rally to his side. According to the LA Times, "Specifically, the Swiss wanted to determine whether the 42 days Polanski already served in a Los Angeles jail would have been considered sufficient time served for having sex with a minor."
Additionally, the Swiss were critical of how the U.S. authorities arrested him last fall, because Polanski was attending a film festival in Zurich, when the U.S. has known Polanski has visited Switzerland for many years; the LA Times reports, "[The Swiss believe] that gave Polanski a reasonable expectation that Switzerland was a safe place for him to be."
A Los Angeles prosecutor had written in court papers earlier this year, while arguing against a sentencing in absentia, "The defendant is a fugitive. A fugitive child rapist, who for 32 years has made a mockery of our criminal justice system, should not be given the power or authority to request anything of this court until he, the criminal, acknowledges this court's lawful authority by surrendering on his outstanding warrant."
The 76-year-old director, who was born in Poland but is now a French resident, was released on $4.5 million bail in December and had been under house arrest in a Swiss chalet since then. His victim, Samantha Geimer, has publicly stated that she has forgiven him and has "gotten over" the incident years ago and wished for the case to be thrown out.