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President Calderon considers transfer to France for jailed woman

Latest update : 2009-03-05

Ahead of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit next week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said that he would explore the possibility that Florence Cassez, 34, who was sentenced to 60 years in jail, may serve her time back in France.

AFP - Mexico may eventually transfer to France a woman jailed for 60 years for her role in a kidnapping gang to finish her jail term, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said in an interview Wednesday with AFP.
   
"Once the conviction becomes final, if that's the case, we can explore how this citizen can serve her sentence in French territory," Calderon said, referring to the Treaty of Strasbourg between Mexico and France that allows for prisoner transfers.
   
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to bring up the case of Florence Cassez, 34, when he arrives in Mexico to Sunday to meet with Calderon.
   
Cassez was originally sentenced to 96 years in jail after being arrested in December 2005 at the home of her Mexican boyfriend -- alleged gangster Israel Vallarta -- where police found several kidnapping victims, including an eight-year-old child, being held for ransom.
   
Cassez, whose case was thrown out of an appeals court Tuesday, has had her sentence reduced to 60 years, of which she has already served three.
   
She has always denied any knowledge of the crimes, but Calderon Wednesday defended the evidence presented against her, saying he closely followed the criminal case.
   
"The victims ... in at least four of the cases (of kidnapping), examined by the judge, fully implicated Cassez as a participant in the crimes," insisted Calderon.
   
"The evidence clearly has legal weight, no only in Mexico but in any legal system," he said.
   
The Mexican president also stressed the need for justice "for the families whose children, whose husbands, were kidnapped by this gang."
   
Cassez' father has urged Sarkozy not to heed calls by some French lawmakers to postpone his planned trip to protest Cassez' incarceration, which they describe as affront to justice. Instead he called on Sarkozy to petition Calderon to grant his daughter amnesty.
   
"Let Nicolas Sarkozy go to Mexico, but let him bring Florence home with him," Bernard Cassez told AFP. "He and the Mexican president are the only ones who can make this decision. All I ask is that he bring Florence back."
 

Date created : 2009-03-05

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