"The Swiss government declared renowned film director Roman Polanski a free man on Monday after rejecting a US request to extradite him on a charge of having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl," report Bradley S Klapper and Frank Jordans of the AP. "The Swiss mostly blamed US authorities for failing to provide confidential testimony about Polanski's sentencing procedure in 1977-1978. The Justice Ministry also said that national interests were taken into consideration in the stunning decision."
Let the summertime media frenzy begin.
Updates: The full statement to the press from the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP).
More commentary: Patrick Goldstein (Los Angeles Times), David Poland, ST VanAirsdale (Movieline) and Jeffrey Wells. And via the Atlantic Wire: Ann Althouse, Alex Balk (Awl), James Joyner (Outside the Beltway), Ed Morrissey (Hot Air) and Steven James Snyder (Time).
The Guardian posts a timeline of the case.
"Justice and reason have finally prevailed after nine months of mass hysteria on both sides of the Atlantic, hysteria and moralistic prejudices," argues Agnès Poirier in the Guardian, where Kate Connolly reports that Polanski "is now in theory free to travel to any country where there is no warrant for his arrest. However, he will have to avoid the US and Britain, where the legal system could ensare him again. Polish politicians were among the first to react to the news. The foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, said he had been in touch with his Swiss colleagues to thank them for their 'sensible decision.' The management of the Zurich film festival which Polanski had been due to attend last year at the time of his arrest, said it was 'very relieved' by the decision."
Updates, 7/13: The warrant for Polanski's arrest remains active, insist US authorities. Anthony McCartney reports for the AP.
"Samantha Geimer, who as a 13-year-old girl was at the center of the Roman Polanski sex case, called on prosecutors to halt the case against the famed director," reports Joe Mozingo. "'Enough is enough. This matter should have been resolved 33 years ago,' she said in an interview with [the Los Angeles Times] on Monday night."
Polanski's US legal team is "calling for 'an impartial third party' to investigate allegations of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct at the time of his 1977 case." Ted Johnson has the full statement.
Updates, 7/15: "Federal officials denied Thursday keeping Los Angeles prosecutors in the dark about refusing a Swiss request for sealed transcripts in the Roman Polanski case, a move that was pivotal to the Swiss refusal to extradite the filmmaker to the United States." Linda Deutsch reports for the AP.
Polanski "is already lining up his next big project," blogs Alison Nastasi at Cinematical. "NY Daily News is reporting that the filmmaker has plans to shoot a film version of the Tony-winning drama God of Carnage sometime next year. Naturally, this film will be shot in Europe — despite his intention to set the story in New York. Yasmina Reza, the French playwright responsible for the story, says she's been collaborating with Polanski since 2009."
Update, 7/17: Polanski has made his first public appearance since his release at the Montreux Jazz Festival, where his wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, is performing — and says he holds no grudges against Switzerland, a country with which he still maintains "a great friendship."
Update, 7/18: "[W]hat rankles is not the director's freedom so much as the continued insistence, by his supporters, that genius left him with nothing to answer for," argues Catherine Bennett in the Observer.