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Children’s advocate says decision not to extradite Polanski “disturbing”

Posted on: July 13, 2010

A leading advocate for missing and exploited children has criticized the decision of a Swiss judge not to extradite director Roman Polanski to the US, saying that the move is “disturbing”.

Polanski, 76, who has been sentenced in a 1977 child sex case, will not be extradited, and he has been released from house arrest in his chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland.

The decision, which was made by Swiss Federal Councillor Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, has been put down by Ernie Allen, president and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington.

“Our concern is that it’s very important that no one appear to be above the law,” the Christian Science Monitor quoted him as saying.

Allen fears that the opportunity to arrest and sentence Polanski is gone.

“My suspicion is that Polanski will very quickly return to France, where the options for prosecution will be minimal, if any. This window is closed,” he stated.

Laura Sweeney, a spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, said in a statement that US believes its request to extradite Polanski was supported by the evidence, met the requirements of the extradition treaty, and involved a serious offence.

“We are very disappointed in the decision of the Swiss Government,” she stated.

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