The US has vowed to continue to pursue film director Roman Polanski for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl despite Switzerland throwing out an extradition request.
Polanski is now a free man – no longer under house arrest at his Gstaad chalet; his electronic bracelet has been removed and he is thought to have returned to his home in France.
Swiss officials said the US hadn’t provided the necessary documents for his extradition.
Polanski’s lawyer, Herve Temime Well, welcomed the decision saying his client had “always shown great decency, great dignity and remained absolutely silent. But this was a very difficult situation to bear”.
The US has no right of appeal over the Swiss ruling. Reaction to Polanski’s release on the streets of New York has been mixed.
“I don’t agree with it. I think he should be extradited to the U.S. I think what he did was absolutely abominable,” said one man.
But another said: “I agree with it. Whatever he wants to do in his personal life, I think as long as it’s okay with both individuals, then that should be okay. I don’t think the government should be in the business of what people do in the bedroom.”
Polanski was accused of plying Samantha Geimer with champagne and drugs and having sex with her in 1977.
He admitted unlawful sex in a plea bargain but fled the US the following year on the eve of his sentencing.