Swiss await official US Polanski ruling before decision

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Swiss authorities said Friday they were waiting for official notice of a US court ruling quashing Roman Polanski's bid to be tried in absentia before they decide on the filmmaker's extradition.

Polanski is under house arrest in Switzerland, after being arrested in Zurich last September on a US arrest warrant for having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

A California appeals court Thursday quashed a bid by the French-Polish film director to be tried in absentia for the child sex case, technically clearing a legal hurdle in the way of a Swiss ruling on his extradition.

"We first need the official information," Folco Galli, a spokesman for the federal justice office, told AFP. "Once we have this information we'll finalise the decision."

Galli gave no indication on the time it would take.

Swiss officials had emphasised that a decision on whether or not to move forward with extradition could not be made until the 76-year-old Oscar winner had exhausted his US appeals.

Extradition proceedings could take about a year, once likely appeals by Polanski against his return -- or by US authorities if a Swiss decision was negative -- had been heard by Switzerland's highest courts, they added.

Polanski has been confined to his chalet in the western Swiss resort of Gstaad since being released from custody on December 4.

© 2010 AFP

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