Switzerland has decided not to extradite Roman Polanski until a California court first resolves whether the fugitive film director can be sentenced in absentia. TalkLeft has more. From the UK Press Association:
Justice Ministry spokesman Folco Galli said that a judgment on sending Polanski back to Los Angeles was still pending, but provided the clearest timeline to date for when Swiss authorities may close their examination.
If it grants Polanski's request to be sentenced in absentia, it could mean that the 76-year-old director avoids a forced return to the US. The Swiss will not extradite him unless he is given a sentence longer than six months.
But rejection from the California court might mean that time has run out for Polanski, who fled the US in 1978 after admitting to having sex with a 13-year-old girl. The Swiss arrested him on September 26 as he arrived in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award from a film festival, and imprisoned him for over two months before moving him to house arrest at his chalet in the luxury resort of Gstaad.
Polanski's extradition is a complicated and diplomatically sensitive decision for the Swiss, as it deals with a three-decade-old case with accusations of wrongdoing by a Los Angeles judge, a confused sentencing procedure and the director's own flight from justice. There is also Polanski's status as a cultural icon in France and Poland, where he holds dual citizenship, and his history as a Holocaust survivor whose first wife was brutally murdered by crazed followers of cult leader Charles Manson in California.