Paris - Filmmaker Roman Polanski's lawyer hailed Swiss authorities on Monday for rejecting a US request to extradite the director on child sex charges, and hoped he would one day return to the United States.
"I pay tribute to Swiss justice, its judicial analysis is very correct," French lawyer Georges Kiejman told AFP after Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf announced Polanski would not be extradited and could walk free.
"I am of course very happy and very moved, both as Roman Polanski's friend and because I think he has undergone a long ordeal," Kiejman said.
"I am glad because he will be able to return to France and will be free to see his son, his daughter and his wife (the actress) Emmanuelle Seigner, whom I pay tribute to because she has shown great courage during this whole period."
Franco-Polish director Polanski, 76, had been under house arrest pending the US demand for him to be sent to California to answer charges of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
"I think the misunderstanding with the American authorities will be easier to resolve and I hope that he will one day be able to return to the United States," Kiejman said.
One of Polanski's leading supporters in the case, the French writer-philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy who had launched a petition in his support, told AFP he was "mad with joy" at the decision.
"I just spoke to him. He feels the same as the millions of citizens who supported him," Levy said.
"He feels that justice has been done."