Justice for Florence Cassez – Human rights activists demand justice in Cassez case

Source: Proceso December 12, 2012

Activists, academics, human rights proponents have published a spread in several newspapers demanding justice in the case against Florence Cassez, who was detained, jailed and condemned to 60 years in prison.

“The accusations against her were based on indefensible proofs, logically and juridically speaking. Also, Florence Cassez was violated in her right to receive a due process, leaving her in a state of defenselessness and proofs were fabricated against her from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (AFI) and the Federal Agency for Public Safety (SSPF),” cites the published document.

The spread was published in several nationwide newspapers are was signed by: Mariclaire Acosta, Director of Freedom House; José Antonio Caballero, researcher, CIDE; Miguel Carbonel, from the Institute of Legal Research at UNAM; and human rights activists Eduardo Gallo, Santiago Corcuera y Javier Sicilia, among others.

“The 60 year sentence against Florence Cassez is not based on proofs or facts that show her culpability beyond all reasonable doubt. It is a real shame for Mexican justice that she continues to be imprisoned.
We urge our Supreme Court to dictate soon the resolution than will put this grave injustice to an end,” says the documents.


Pierre Lacour

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)

Florence Cassez:The Freedom of Innocence in Jail

January 13, 2012

Published in http://fearlessfathers.wordpress.com/

On Sunday January 8, 2012, I met Florence Cassez, the French women who has been sentenced to serve sixty years in prison by the Mexican justice for the crimes of  kidnapping and organized crime she did not commit.  As I was carrying the  grilled chicken Florence had asked me to bring for lunch, heading toward the Centro Feminil de Readaptacion Social (South of Mexico City) where she is incarcerated, I was still struggling with the thought that had started to bug me since Florence had accepted my request to visit her, three days before: I am no journalist, no lawyer, and therefore I could not be of much help to her.

I know I will not sleep much until she is freed, but I also know now she does not need my help that much. The first thing I found out last Sunday is that she has been helping herself amazingly well given what she has gone through. Before meeting her, I had in mind the image of Florence in shock during the AFI’s remake of her arrestation for the Mexican TV, on December 9 2005. The Florence Cassez I see after passing security, as I step into the large room where a crowd of inmates are meeting and eating with their visitors, has nothing to do with that.  She is a rather tall women with an intense and reflective gaze. She graciously introduces me to her two other visitors, among whom David Bertet, who manages the Canadian Committee in Support of Florence. I quickly discover she has guts. Indeed, as I am telling her I did not understand why the Mexican government  (Mexico is a signat0ry of the 1983 Strasbourg convention on the transfer of sentenced persons) has been dragging its feet to repatriate Florence to France while invoking the incompatibility of the French thirty-year maximum jail sentence with Florence’s, she brushes away this option. Repatriation? No Sir. She did not want that. Doing time in France meant acknowledging she was guilty. She is innocent. Florence wants the Cassez’s case to be cleared in Mexico. She is fully aware that if it were to happen, it would have wide implications for the working of the Mexican justice system, and for the lot of those Mexican whose rights are violated and who, like her, rot in jail thanks to flawed or made-up accusations of kidnapping.

As the discussion unfolds around lunch, I cannot but notice with immense pleasure that it is interrupted many times. Florence is not at all ostracized as I was fearing. On the contrary, she is a popular figure here. Folks want to chat with her. She keeps getting up, keeps leaving the table to check hands or hug people. David Bertet told me aside that her humility, her acceptance of the rules of the jail, has earned her the respect of the inmates and that of the prison’s authorities. According to Florence, it has not always been like that; President Sarkozy’s intervention with the Senate and the Mexican government was key to the inmates’change of mind about her. As they saw the French President himself pulling up his sleeves for Florence, people started to question the way most of the Mexican media had depicted her, as the sequestradora, the Francesa diabolica. I gladly admit I was off the mark in an earliercriticism of Sarkozy’s intervention on this blog. Yet I think that Florence is perhaps too modest. Her audacious resilience in claiming her innocence must have something to do with people’s empathy for her.