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Mexican Supreme Court to hear Cassez appeal

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-01-11

Mexico’s Supreme Court announced on Thursday that it would hear French national Florence Cassez’s appeal against a 2011 ruling sentencing her to 60 years in prison for kidnapping, in a case that has strained diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Mexico's Supreme Court announced Thursday that this month it will hear an appeal from a Frenchwoman serving 60 years in prison for kidnapping, in a case that sparked diplomatic tensions.

The five justices of the court's first chamber will discuss the case of Florence Cassez, 38, who has always claimed her innocence, on January 23, the court's spokeswoman Cristina Martinez told AFP.

Cassez was sentenced to six decades in prison in February 2011 over charges that she was involved with a gang of kidnappers known as the Zodiacs, allegedly run by her ex-boyfriend Israel Vallarta.

She was arrested in Vallarta's ranch in a December 2005 and three hostages were released.

The apparent police operation was broadcast live on Mexican TV, but the footage was eventually revealed to have been staged after her arrest, a stunt her lawyers say tainted the case against her.

Her treatment caused a diplomatic crisis in February 2001, when Mexican authorities cancelled a "Year of Mexico" cultural event in France after then French president Nicolas Sarkozy tried to dedicate the festivities to Cassez.

Former Mexican president Felipe Calderon had publicly voiced his opposition to releasing Cassez But new presidents have since taken over in both France and Mexico.

After meeting with Mexico's president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto in October, French President Francois Hollande said that he was confident the Supreme Court would "put an end to this painful situation."

Pena Nieto, a 46-year-old lawyer who took office in December, said his country would "scrupulously" respect the decision taken by the courts.

The Supreme Court had already heard her case in March 2012 but only two justices voted for her release when three were needed.


Date created : 2013-01-11


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