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Swiss free Polanski, refuse US extradition plea

Geneva: Film director Roman Polanski will not be extradited from Switzerland to the US, Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said Monday.

All measures which restricted his movement were also lifted, Widmer-Schlumpf said in Swiss capital Bern.

Polanski is wanted in the US on sex-crime charges for allegedly having relations with a minor girl in 1977.

He was detained in Switzerland last September on a warrant from the US and has since been held under house arrest in Gstaad, outside Bern.

The 76-year-old filmmaker, known for "The Pianist", "Chinatown" and more recently "The Ghost", has been trying to avoid extradition to the US on the decades-old charge. In recent months he also attempted, but failed, to be sentenced in absentia.

Polanski pleaded guilty 33 years ago to unlawful intercourse with then 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. Afterwards, he spent 42 days at Chino State Prison.

He then fled the US and has based himself abroad, mainly in Europe, because of the outstanding warrants against him.

IANS

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