Swiss receive US Polanski ruling ahead of decision

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Swiss authorities said Wednesday they had received official notice of last week's US court ruling on Roman Polanski, clearing a technical hurdle for a decision on the film-maker's extradition.

"Yes we have received the ruling," Folco Galli, a spokesman for the federal justice office, told AFP.

But he stressed that the development did not automatically finalise a decision on whether or not Switzerland will deliver the French-Polish director to the United States.

Galli declined to give a time frame for a Swiss decision, saying: "When we have taken out decision we'll announce it."

Polanski is confined to his chalet in western 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 last Thursday quashed a bid by the 76-year-old Oscar winner to be tried in absentia for the child sex case, apparently exhausting his opportunities for appeals in the United States.

Officials have said that extradition proceedings could trigger a year-long legal battle in Switzerland, as the country's highest courts hear likely appeals by Polanski against his return or by US authorities if a Swiss decision was negative.

Polanski's lawyer Herve Temime on Saturday urged Switzerland to free the film-maker "once and for all".

Polanski has been under house arrest in Gstaad, wearing an electronic bracelet since he was released from custody on December 4.

© 2010 AFP

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