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U.S. government disappointed over Swiss ruling on Polanski

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Swiss court will not extradite Polanski
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • U.S. officials express disappointment over Switzerland's refusal to extradite Roman Polanski
  • Celebrated film director fled America decades ago before being sentenced on a child sex charge
  • Polanski was arrested in Switzerland last year

Washington (CNN) -- A Justice Department official said Monday the United States was "deeply disappointed" with the decision by Switzerland's Justice Ministry to free filmmaker Roman Polanski instead of extraditing him to America to face sentencing for unlawful sex with a child.

Polanski pleaded guilty in Los Angeles, California, in 1977 to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl, then fled to Europe before he was sentenced.

He was arrested in Switzerland last year and had been fighting extradition since then.

The Swiss Justice Ministry said Monday it was rejecting the U.S. request for extradition, meaning Polanski was now free.

Video: Swiss save Polanski?
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"We are deeply disappointed," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department's criminal division. "We thought our extradition request was supported by the facts. We're going to review our options."

Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley also expressed disappointment, saying that the United States "believes that the rape of a 13-year-old child by an adult is a crime" and would continue to pursue justice in the case.

Asked about comments by the Swiss attorney general that suggested technical errors in the U.S. extradition request, Crowley said: "A 13-year-girl was drugged and raped by an adult -- this is not a matter of technicality."

CNN's Elise Labott and Terry Frieden contributed to this report.

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