Anger Erupts After Roman Polanksi Freed by Swiss

"It's not about qualifying the crime. That is not our job."

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Roman Polanski is a free man. The Swiss government has rejected the U.S. extradition request for the film director, who was charged with having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977. The Swiss Justice Ministry blamed U.S. officials for failing to provide "confidential testimony about Polanski's sentencing procedure in 1977-1978," the AP reports. They also said national interests impacted the decision.

"He is a free man," said Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, the Swiss Justice Minister. "He can go to France or to Poland, anywhere where he will not be arrested."

  • I'm Confused "One wonders what 'confidential testimony' the Swiss needed and why the DOJ refused to send it," writes James Joyner at Outside the Beltway. "The fact remains that Polanski pled guilty to the crime." Ann Althouse adds, "What fault in the extradition request? What 'principles of State action deriving from international public order'?"
  • Game Over "Monday's decision almost assures Polanski that he will avoid jail for the remainder of his life," writes Steven James Snyder at Time.

Let's parse this a moment, shall we? The Swiss point to no fault in the request. In fact, they admit it was "thoroughly examined." Instead of acting on an extradition request that admittedly had no apparent fault, the Swiss refused because it might have a fault. Somewhere.

What, are Swiss lawyers that incompetent? Are their jurists that unintelligent? By that standard, the entire legal system in Switzerland should be dismantled, its employees sent to remedial school, and perhaps the government should resign in favor of an absolute monarchy. Assuming, of course, that anyone with an IQ above 70 can be found to hold the office.

Of course, this is not the case. Switzerland just didn't want to turn Polanski over to the US for fear of falling out of favor with the entertainment industry, and the EuroLeft that adores the child rapist Polanski. When they couldn't come up with a good reason, they had to claim that the lack of a good reason was reason enough to reject the request.

  • Sigh "Now I guess we'll never be able to determine if it was rape or rape-rape," quips Alex Balk at Awl.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.