Switzerland frees Roman Polanski

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Switzerland frees Roman Polanski

Mon Jul 12, 2010 @ 07:25AM PST

Roman-Polanski-001In a surprise decision, Swiss authorities have decided to release Roman Polanski and not send him back to the U.S. to face penalties stemming from a 1977 statutory rape conviction.

The 76-year-old director has been held in detention since last September by the Swiss as authorities there reviewed a U.S. extradition request.

In deciding to release Polanski, the Swiss Justice Ministry cited the failure by the U.S. to provide confidential testimony about Polanski's original sentencing procedure. Polanski's lawyers had unsuccessfully attempted to get a California appeals court to throw out his decades-old sex case upon new revelations about alleged prosecutorial and judicial misconduct.

Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said at a press conference today that Polanski "is able to move around freely" now and that the U.S. won't be allowed to appeal the decision. 

More to come.

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