Swiss Decision on Polanski ‘Courageous and Respectable’: Le Temps, Switzerland
Early today, after over a year of deliberations, Swiss authorities announced that they are rejecting an American request to extradite film director Roman Polanski, who has spent decades evading U.S. justice. According to columnist Francois Modoux of Switzerland’s Le Temps, the decision was not only just – it was absolutely necessary to safeguard Swiss sovereignty and the rights of Swiss citizens.
For Le Temps, Francois Modoux writes in part:
It’s a relief to learn that at the highest levels, the complexity of the case and Swiss responsibility for the misadventure that has befallen the filmmaker was recognized.
The record of the case shows the possibility that the extradition request was seriously flawed, and that in fact, Roman Polanski had already served the sentence for which he had been convicted. That Switzerland couldn’t get a California court to provide a sensitive document likely favorable to Polanski confirms this suspicion. This was compounded by the fact that the rape victim behind the case against the artist, has said several times that she has forgiven him and no longer wants to hear this story going back over 30 years. No federal councilor could ignore these facts when considering a request to extradite the filmmaker.
The very circumstances surrounding Roman Polanski’s arrest were heavily in his favor. The filmmaker was arrested upon arrival in Zurich, after he was invited by Swiss authorities to receive an award. This was to be a senior federal official who was to praise him – on behalf of Switzerland. Polanski’s confidence in Switzerland was badly betrayed by the zeal of an official who himself reported to U.S. authorities the moment the director arrived on Swiss soil. … This – despite the fact that Polanski regularly stayed in Switzerland at a cottage he owns – and without anyone questioning or worrying about it. Swiss rule of law – that all citizens are equal under the law – was wrongly invoked to justify Polanski’s arrest.
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