Polanski victim backs Swiss decision


The woman with whom film director Roman Polanski was convicted of having illegal sex when she was a minor said today she was satified with Switzerland's decision not to extradite him to the United States for the 1977 offence.

Samantha Geimer, now a mother of three in her 40s, has repeatedly asked for the case to be dropped. Switzerland yesterday refused to hand him over and freed him after months of house arrest.

"I am satisfied with this decision and I hope that the district attorney will now close the case and get it over once and for all," Ms Geimer told French radio Europe 1.

Polanski pleaded guilty to having sex with Ms Geimer, who was 13 at the time, after giving her champagne and drugs.

He fled before sentencing in 1978, saying he believed the judge would renege on a plea agreement under which the 42 days he had spent in detention for psychiatric assessment would constitute his full sentence.

Polanski's wife, French actress and singer Emmanuelle Seigner, said in an interview with the newspaper Liberation that the Swiss decision was a huge relief.

"It's the end of a nightmare, above all for our two children," she was quoted as saying. "I could not imagine another outcome. Today, the Swiss authorities have realised the injustice of this affair."

Polanski's release was widely welcomed in France, where the director has been a citizen and long-time resident.

The whereabouts of Polanski, who won international acclaim for movies such as Chinatown and The Pianist, were being kept secret today. His French lawyer declined to comment on reports that the director was returning to France from his chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland, where he had been under house arrest since last December.