Mexican police have confirmed that a probe has been launched against federal agents responsible for the 2005 arrest of Frenchwoman Florence Cassez (pictured) on charges of kidnapping. Allegations have been made that Cassez’s arrest was staged.
This investigation, launched in August 2006, could shed light on the circumstances of Cassez’s arrest and possibly reveal long-suspected misconduct by federal agents from Mexico’s Federal Investigation Agency (AFI).
French authorities say the elements accumulated over the years show evidence that the affair has been a “set-up”, and that the whole case against Cassez – who is currently serving a 60-year prison sentence for kidnap – should be dropped.
The first real breakthrough occurred in April this year when Mexican police admitted that the arrest - as beamed around the world on TV screens - was a re-enactment for the benefit of the media, while the real arrest took place a day before.
Then, in June, a man who gave key testimony against Cassez revealed that his statements had been obtained under duress.
The 34-year-old Frenchwoman was originally arrested at a ranch where three kidnapping victims were being held. Cassez has always maintained her innocence. She claims her only link to the case is that she was the girlfriend of the lead kidnapper, Israel Vallarta.
For Cassez’s lawyer Frank Breton, the inquiry represents a “great step forward” and will help build a “strong” case, which is set to be brought before the Mexican Supreme Court in August.
According to Breton, the police inquiry backs up their argument that the whole arrest was “staged since the beginning”.
According to Cassez’s mother, even though the latest revelation was a “small step forward”, she is “very happy to see that those around the case are still searching for the truth”.
The Mexican government has repeatedly denied all requests to extradite Cassez to France.
Date created : 2010-07-22