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In The Worst Tradition of Swiss “Neutrality”

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As Paul notes below, the Swiss government has decided that fugitive child rapist Roman Polanski will not be extradited to face justice.   Defending an indefensible proposition inevitably requires some gross illogic, and the Swiss government does not disappoint:

Ms. Widmer-Schlumpf said the American authorities had rejected a request by her ministry for records of a hearing by the prosecutor in the case, Roger Gunson, in January 2010, which should have established whether the judge who tried the case in 1977 had assured Mr. Polanski that time he spent in a psychiatric unit would constitute the whole of the period of imprisonment he would serve.

“If this were the case, Roman Polanski would actually have already served his sentence and therefore both the proceedings on which the U.S. extradition request is founded and the request itself would have no foundation,” the Swiss Justice Ministry said in a statement.

In fairness, the state of California may have erred here in not providing records, but the argument here still makes no sense. Even if we were to accept arguendo that the judge was about to apply a stricter sentence, since doing so would have been inconsistent with neither the relevant statute nor the plea agreement Polanski entered into, so what? This is a matter for American courts; it’s not for the Swiss govenrment to determine that retroactively child rapists deserve a slap on the wrist based on what at best were informal misunderstandings. What a disgrace.

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