Frenchwoman Florence Cassez receives a hero’s welcome home, cleared by the Mexican court after 7 years in prison

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Frenchwoman Florence Cassez receives a hero’s welcome home, cleared by the Mexican court after 7 years in prison

Siskiyou_Kid
This post was updated on .

Florence Cassez's case became a cause celebre in France

 23 January 2013 Last updated at 17:52 ET
Florence Cassez to be freed in Mexico

A Frenchwoman jailed in Mexico in 2007 for 60 years for kidnapping is to be freed, the Supreme Court has decided.

Florence Cassez had denied the charges and many irregularities have been found in the case, including a staged televised police raid.

Three judges on a panel of five voted to have Ms Cassez released immediately because her rights had been violated.

The case provoked tensions between Mexico and France, where news of her impending release was widely welcomed.

Ms Cassez's mother, Charlotte, told French television the case had been full of suspense right to the end. "It's an explosion of joy. I can't quite believe it," she said.

In a statement, President Francois Hollande said the decision marked the end of a "particularly painful period".

"France thanks all those who, in Mexico as well as here at home, have fought so that truth and justice prevail."

Mr Hollande spoke to Ms Cassez by phone on Wednesday evening. Details of the conversation have not been revealed.

Her lawyer told French TV Ms Cassez would be out of jail very soon and could be back in France on Thursday.

"It's over. I will go and collect Florence at the prison now. I am collecting a woman that I have been dreaming of collecting from a horrible prison for the last seven years," Frank Berton said.

"This is a historic day for Mexican justice."

Sharp criticism

Florence Cassez was arrested on 8 December 2005 at a ranch near Mexico City where several hostages were found, but denied knowledge of the kidnappings, in which her former boyfriend was involved.

The next day, Mexican TV showed what it described as live footage of a police raid, which it later transpired had been a reconstruction performed at the request of the media.

The Supreme Court judges ruled that the reconstruction had violated Ms Cassez's rights.

The decision to release her has been sharply criticised by one of the hostages, Ezequiel Elizalde, BBC Mexico correspondent Will Grant says.

Mr Elizalde testified against Ms Cassez and has condemned the Supreme Court's decision as "disgusting", describing Mexico's institutions as "filth".

This was the second time that the Supreme Court had taken a vote on freeing Ms Cassez.

Last March, however, the judges decided against her release, despite acknowledging serious irregularities in the process.

When first convicted, she was jailed for 96 years, But, in 2009, a court of appeal reduced the term to 60 years.

French authorities tried to extradite her, but the move was blocked by the Mexican government.

Mr Hollande's predecessor in the Elysee Palace, Nicolas Sarkozy, championed the case and repeatedly clashed with the Mexican government of then-President Felipe Calderon.

Diplomatic tensions reached a peak two years ago when Mexican authorities cancelled a high-profile cultural event in Paris.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-21172995
Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
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Re: French kidnapper Florence Cassez to be freed in Mexico

Chivis
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she is on her flight to paris
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: French kidnapper Florence Cassez to be freed in Mexico

Nutcase
I wanna hear more from her about the day it all happened for her. Was she kept in another place at the ranch? How did the victim know of her?  Alot of questions unaswered for me...
Seeing is believing
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Re: French kidnapper Florence Cassez to be freed in Mexico

1966tinman
In reply to this post by Siskiyou_Kid
She is lucky that one of those civilian death squads didn't catch her and the boyfriend . They would've ended up on here on Borderland Beat in one of those execution videos being sliced and diced  by the Mexican version of French chef Jacques Pepin .  Seems to me , that she is the typical foreigner committing crimes abroad and then making a plea to her country to save her sorry ass . The Mexican judicial system is flawed in so many ways , but if you commit a crime there then you will no doubt  be tried under Mexican law .  Hopefully her plane crashes on the way back to France or she gets kidnapped by the Islamic terrorist group from Mali .
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Re: French kidnapper Florence Cassez to be freed in Mexico

Chivis
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This post was updated on .
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Lindsay lohan's lost twin?

here is the vote...3 in favor 2 against


 
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Re: French kidnapper Florence Cassez to be freed in Mexico

Milo
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Re: French kidnapper Florence Cassez to be freed in Mexico

†.©ĤİVǾ.†
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Re: French kidnapper Florence Cassez to be freed in Mexico

Bjeff
It could be unbelievable, but there was a man in Austria a couple of years ago who lived a seemingly normal life with his family, but had his daughter tied up in a secret room in the basement abusing her daily and had a secret family with her also tucked away in the secret room. Officially the daughter had ran away with a crazy sect. This went on for years without anyone (including his real wife) knowing.

That Florence Cassez did not know is possible, but not plausible. However, an ideal justice system should be based on the benefit of a doubt. Mob justice is not justice.

From what I read, it is not whether she is guilty or not which is the question, she has already been sentenced. But it is a case of incompetence from the prosecution, fabricating evidence, not following standard procedure  etc. No wonder she was freed. Same thing happens all over the free world. It is not the justice system to be blamed in this case, the judges did the right thing sending a strong message to the attorney general and the public.
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Re: French kidnapper Florence Cassez to be freed in Mexico

jlopez
In reply to this post by Siskiyou_Kid
Kid: I have been following this case since the arrest. Florence Cassez was released by the Mexican Supreme Court because her due process rights were violated. This had been known for several years, but with Calderon and Garcia Luna in power, the supreme court did not dare rule on the case. There was a lot of pressure from the Calderon government on individual justices to make sure they would not agree with the justices who proposed to grant the amparo earlier. In fact, one of them recently admitted that he was reminded by Calderon just why he was appointed to the supreme court, a very juicy, highly paid position, and it was not to oppose the government.

Garcia Luna staged the arrest of Cassez and other alleged members of the kidnapping gang. She had actually been arrested a little over a day earlier but Garcia Luna wanted to put on a show for the TV station, Televisa. Televisa's main mouthpiece, Loret de Mola, admitted recently that Televisa knew the event was staged, although he was careful not to say when Televisa knew about it.

In any case, in addition to the unlawful arrest (she was not allowed to contact her embassy, her lawyers, etc., as required by treaty and Mexican law), there were numerous witnesses whose testimonies were ignored and who actually incriminated the relatives of some of the hostages in their kidnapping. Other witnesses admitted they saw Cassez on the television montage, so their recollection was seriously tainted.  Finally, the main witnesses contradicted themselves on key points in their testimony.

All in all, her prosecution was a mess to the point that her guilt or innocence could not be established. The current AG, Karam Murillo (?) issued a statement that said that Cassez was not released because she is innocent, but because her due process and civil rights were violated. I think that is correct. I, for one, am glad she was released, not because I think she is innocent, but because Mexico's judicial system will not mature until it starts to follow the rules.    
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Re: French kidnapper Florence Cassez to be freed in Mexico

Siskiyou_Kid
Thanks for the update, JLopez. I especially appreciate the info on Calderon, since many Americans think he was some kind of knight on a white horse, instead of the crooked politician he really is.
Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
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Frenchwoman Florence Cassez receives a hero’s welcome home, cleared by the Mexican court after 7 years in prison

Siskiyou_Kid
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France's Florence Cassez, flanked by French Foreign minister Laurent Fabius (R) and her Lawyer Franck Berton, arrives for a press conference at Roissy airport Thursday.


Frenchwoman Florence Cassez receives a hero’s welcome home, cleared by the Mexican court after 7 years in prison

A Supreme Court in Mexico voted to free Florence Cassez, 38, from France who was serving out a 60-year sentence for kidnapping. The decision was made after it was decided her rights were violated by a television broadcast of a staged raid on the kidnappers by the police when in fact the alleged kidnappers, including Cassez, were arrested the previous day on a highway.




PARIS — A Frenchwoman who spent seven years in prison in Mexico on kidnapping charges returned to a hero's welcome in Paris on Thursday, declaring she had been cleared by the Mexican court that ordered her freed.

Florence Cassez was greeted by France's foreign minister as she left the plane, with the promise of a meeting Friday with the president. Her arrest, trial and 60-year prison sentence made her a cause celebre in France, where television networks carried her return live, hours after relatives of kidnap victims angrily shouted "Killer!" as a police convoy whisked her away from the Mexico City prison.

Two consecutive French presidents called for the release of Cassez, who was ordered freed Wednesday because of flaws in her trial, bringing to a close a case that had strained relations between the countries.

"I was cleared," she said Thursday. "I suffered as a victim for more than seven years."

Anti-crime activists in Mexico vigorously opposed the ruling to free her.

Cassez, left, is kissed by her mother Charlotte. Cassez, who spent seven years in prison in Mexico on kidnapping charges returned to a heroes welcome in Paris, declaring she had been cleared by the Mexican court that ordered her freed.

The wife of one kidnap victim showed up on Wednesday as reporters gathered outside the Mexico City prison where Cassez had been held. Michelle Valadez said her husband, Ignacio, was kidnapped and held for three months by Cassez's boyfriend's gang in 2005.

"We paid the ransom, but they killed him anyway," she sobbed. "It's not fair what they've done to us, it's not fair they're freeing her."

The Mexican Supreme Court panel voted 3-2 to release Cassez because of procedural and rights violations during her arrest, including police staging a recreation of her capture for the media. The justices pointedly did not rule on her guilt or innocence, but said the violations of due process, the right to consular assistance and evidentiary rules were so grievous that they invalidated the original guilty verdict against her.


Cassez (C) and her parents Bernard and Charlotte attend a Press conference at Charles-de-Gaulle airport.

Cassez, 38, was arrested in 2005 and convicted of helping her Mexican then-boyfriend run a kidnapping gang.

"If she had been turned over to court custody promptly, if she had been allowed prompt consular assistance, this (raid) staging couldn't have taken place, and the whole affair would have been totally different," Justice Arturo Zaldivar said during discussion of the ruling.

Because the case was mishandled, the truth remains unknown, said the president of Mexico City's Human Rights Commission, Luis Gonzalez Placencia.

"In this country we can no longer ignore police obtaining evidence by tampering with it, by using torture, by staging raids," Gonzalez said. "We will never know whether Florence is guilty or innocent, but we know for certain there are specific people who violated due process."

Wednesday's ruling put another spotlight on Mexico's historically corrupt justice system and drew reactions from both countries' presidents.


Cassez, left, is kissed by her mother Charlotte. Cassez, who spent seven years in prison in Mexico on kidnapping charges returned to a heroes welcome in Paris, declaring she had been cleared by the Mexican court that ordered her freed.

"I want to recognize the Mexican justice system because it put the law first," French President Francois Hollande said on television on Wednesday. "That was the trust we put in it. And today we can say that between France and Mexico, we have the best relations that it is possible to have."

Cassez, in a news conference at the airport in Paris, said the decision showed the Mexico is transforming its approach to human rights.

The Mexican Supreme Court ruled in favor of the "immediate and absolute" freedom of Cassez on Wednesday. Cassez was originally convicted in Mexico to 60 years in prison for kidnapping and other crimes.

"It's not just good for Florence Cassez. It's good for all of Mexico," she said. "I hope it will be a precendent."

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said in a statement that he will "absolutely" respect the court's decision.

Agustin Acosta, an attorney for Cassez, called the ruling "a resounding message in favor of justice and respect for human rights." Police torture and fabrication of evidence have long been tolerated in Mexico.

Mexican police acknowledged they staged a raid on a ranch outside Mexico City to depict the hostages' rescue and Cassez's detention. After Cassez was detained and held incognito for a day, Mexican police hauled her back to the ranch and forced her to participate in the raid staged for television cameras, a type of display for the news media not unusual in Mexico.

The Frenchwoman said she had lived at the ranch, but did not know kidnapping victims were held there.

Cassez ultimately spent seven years in prison and became the center of a vigorous debate between Mexicans who say she was abused by the criminal justice system and those who say setting her free would only reinforce a sense that crimes such as kidnapping go unpunished.

Mexico has one of the world's highest kidnapping rates, and there has been increasing public pressure to halt what is seen as widespread impunity for criminals.

At least one victim identified Cassez as one of the kidnappers, though only by hearing her voice, not by seeing her.

It was not immediately clear how the ruling might affect the case against Cassez's ex-boyfriend, Israel Vallarta, who is charged with allegedly leading the gang and is being tried separately.

But the ruling provoked a backlash from Mexican anti-crime activists, including Isabel Miranda de Wallace, who led a successful decade-long fight to bring her son's kidnappers to justice even though his body was never found.

"Today, they opened the door to impunity, today a lot of people are going to go free," Miranda de Wallace told news media. "We already live without public safety, now it's going to be worse."

Ezequiel Elizalde, a kidnap victim who testified against Cassez, told local media that the ruling discredited the Mexican justice system. "Get a weapon, arm yourself, and don't pay any attention to the government," he said.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/frenchwoman-freed-mexican-prison-returns-home-article-1.1247240?pgno=1#ixzz2J2yY6dyM



Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
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Re: French kidnapper Florence Cassez to be freed in Mexico

Chivis
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In reply to this post by jlopez
thanks JL  for your attorney sense.

I really am conflicted about it...but always thought she was guilty, but as Tex says 7 years enough.  She is hailed as a "shero" in France and will make millions, perhaps a book..


Hey Tex...slumming?  jajaja just kidding, nice to see you back, your blog is really a fantastic project, great work....chivis
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: French kidnapper Florence Cassez to be freed in Mexico

Texcoco
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Re: French kidnapper Florence Cassez to be freed in Mexico

Siskiyou_Kid
Hey, good to see you Texcoco.
Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
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Re: French kidnapper Florence Cassez to be freed in Mexico

Chivis
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In reply to this post by Texcoco
good thank you...I like your foto but you have your shirt on......JUST KIDDING....jajaja
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please