Senior Mexican judge says Frenchwoman Cassez should go free

10 May 2012

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A Frenchwoman imprisoned for participating in a kidnapping ring in Mexico should be released, according to the Mexican judge in charge of reviewing a case that has caused a rift between the two nations, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

Judge Olga Sanchez is one of five Supreme Court judges weighing the case of Florence Cassez, 37, who was convicted in 2008 in a closed trial. Cassez was arrested by authorities with her ex-boyfriend on a ranch near Mexico City in 2005.

The Supreme Court, the nation’s highest court, in March rejected a proposal by one of Sanchez’s fellow judges to release Cassez, but it said the evidence needed to be re-assessed, leaving Sanchez in charge of tabling a new motion to resolve the sentencing.

“For me, as I said, and I don’t want to prejudice the case, she should be released,” Sanchez told the Excelsior newspaper in a report published on Thursday.

“This is what I think for many reasons,” she added. “And now that I’ve delved into the file, I have many more reasons.”

She did not give provide additional details.

Sanchez had voted for the Frenchwoman’s release in March, but the judges have said little since then. Her comments before the new motion has been announced are unusual in Mexico.

Three of the judges in March voted against freeing Cassez, but all but one picked holes in the legal process that convicted her, which involved a televised police recreation of her arrest which was heavily criticized.

Cassez was portrayed as a kidnapper in the restaged event, which was aired on national television as if it were a real event. Police have since admitted their wrongdoing.

At the trial, one of the kidnap victims testified Cassez had threatened to cut his finger off, but she denied the accusation.

The Mexican government has backed her conviction. Polls show a majority of Mexicans share that view.

Anti-crime groups have also opposed freeing Cassez, saying it would be an insult to the victims of kidnapping in a nation where many of the guilty go unpunished. Mexico has one of the world’s highest rates of kidnapping.

Some leading intellectuals have called for Cassez’s release and say the case illustrates Mexico’s failed justice system.

(Reporting by Lorne Matalon; Editing by Paul Simao)

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  1. It is sad know that this kidnapper is free, everybody in Mexico knows she is guilty, she is free only because the mediatic presion (specially the international), but is good to know she is not longer in Mexico(one criminal less), this kind of people never change, sooner or later she will be captured in france (or some other country) for the same reason (or worse) an then everybody will know the kind of people she is.

    • The fact is : she has been released because there exists absolutely no legal proof according to which she could be considered guilty.
      Take this piece of advise: before pretending that you actually KNOW “this kind of people,” you should be aware of what is happening in Mexico. Thousands of innocent people are put in jail, for crimes they did not commit.


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