Roman Polanski was freed by a Swiss court today and released from home arrest after a ten month ordeal.
The famed director has been detained in Switzerland at his estate since last winter when he was arrested. The Swiss court has finally decided at long last not to extradite him to the US on charges from his 1978 arrest in Los Angeles and subsequent jailing for having sex with a 13 year old girl.
That girl, now adult Samantha Geimer, had long ago settled with Polanski financially and asked the world to leave him alone.
But Swiss authorities, acting on orders from the United States, arrested the director last year when arrived to receive an award.
A documentary film had shown that there were several defects in the original case, and that the judge in the case had acted improperly. Today the Swiss judge said she was letting Polanski go because the US didn’t assist with information stemming from a January 2010 hearing that concerned those charges.
Polanski’s friend, Bernard Henri Levy, told the Swiss press that he was “mad with happiness.” Polanski’s leg bracelet was removed around 1pm Swiss time, but friends say he hasn’t left his home yet. The French Culture Minister, Frederic Mitterand, who hadn’t done much to help Polanski–a French citizen–told a Geneva newspaper he was “thrilled” at the news of Polanski’s release.
Henri-Levy told the paper: “I just talked to him, he is in the same state of mind that millions of citizens who supported him, his feeling is that justice is served.” Levy continued: “I expected it because I could not imagine an impartial justice system and a person endowed with reason to take a different decision given the evidence in this case.”
The Swiss judge pointed out that this decision has nothing to do with whether or not Polanski is innocent or guilty in the American case. And in fact, the director remains a fugitive in the eyes of the Los Angeles District Attorney. But he is now free to return to France and resume his life.