Swiss media divided over Polanski release

13th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Swiss newspapers were split Tuesday on Bern's decision to free Roman Polanski, some welcoming it as proof of judicial independence but others saying it showed favouritism for the filmmaker.

"Should we celebrate the liberation of Roman Polanski? Yes," said tabloid Le Matin.

"For us, the case is shelved and we can lift up our heads thanks to the independence of Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf," the country's justice minister, it added.

Swiss authorities on Monday threw out a US request to extradite the director to face child sex charges dating to 1977.

Lausanne-based 24 Heures praised Switzerland for making the decision with "remarkable clarity and logic."

"The double show of independence -- the arrest first, and the non-extradition later -- gives a welcome legitimacy to this long process," it claimed.

However, another French-language newspaper was more negative.

In an editorial titled "Roman Polanski leaves, the facts remain," La Tribune de Geneve, argued that there were strong grounds to reject the United States' request for extradition.

But it added: "Don't forget that there is still a victim. She was 13 years old at the time of the event."

The Swiss-German press was mostly critical.

Zurich-based newspaper Tages Anzeiger said Switzerland had taken a "judicially shaky decision."

Another Zurich newspaper NZZ also claimed that "we see here that when superior interests are in play, not all are equal in front of the law.

"Some are more equal than others."

© 2010 AFP

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