Polanski Free After Swiss Refuse Extradition

click image to enlarge
July 12, 2010 | 8:45am EST

Roman Polanski is a free man – officials in Switzerland have thrown out a request to extradite him to the U.S. for sentencing on a child-sex charge.

The Rosemary’s Baby director has been under house arrest at a luxury chalet in Gstaad since he was seized in Zurich last September en route to a film festival.

Authorities demanded the film-maker be returned to the States to face sentencing for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977. He pleaded guilty to the offence but fled to Europe in 1978 before facing a court.

But Swiss officials announced on Monday that the extradition has now been turned down – because they cannot rule out the possibility that there is a “fault” in the request.

In a statement, a spokesman for the Swiss Justice Ministry says, “The reason for the decision lies in the fact that it was not possible to exclude with the necessary certainty a fault in the U.S. extraditionary (sic) request.”

Polanski is expected to return to his family home in France.