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Swiss Reject US Extradition Request for Director Polanski

Switzerland has denied a U.S. extradition request for film director Roman Polanski to face child sex charges filed three decades ago in Los Angeles.

Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said Monday the decision, which frees Polanski from custody, was based on defects in the U.S. extradition request that could not be resolved.

Polanski was arrested last year in Zurich, and has been under house arrest while awaiting the Swiss decision on extradition. In April, a California court rejected a request that Polanski be sentenced in Switzerland on the 1977 charges.

Polanski was originally charged with six felonies against a 13-year-old girl, including rape and sodomy. But Los Angeles prosecutors later agreed to reduce the charges to unlawful sex with a minor.

The victim in the 1977 case, now in her 40s, has said she does not want Polanski jailed.

Polanski fled the United States ahead of his sentencing, after learning that the trial judge was prepared to reject a plea-bargain deal and sentence him to prison.

Since Polanski's arrest last year, Switzerland had sought records of a 1977 meeting between the Los Angeles judge and lawyers, in which the judge said Polanski would not serve further jail time beyond the six weeks already spent under psychiatric evaluation. U.S. officials turned down the Swiss request, citing a court order keeping the negotiations secret.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.