Jan 26th, 2013 by Sophia Sofferman
This past Wednesday, Mexico’s Supreme Court ordered the release of a Florence Cassez, a Frenchwoman who was convicted on kidnapping charges in 2008 and sentenced to 60 years in prison. In a 3-2 decision, the Supreme Court overturned that ruling and ordered her release.
According to CNN, the case drew “national attention in Mexico and increased diplomatic tensions with France.” In addition, CNN notes that French officials have “pushed” for Cassez to be released and asked Mexico’s Supreme Court to consider the case.
Cassez was arrested with her boyfriend in 2005 for allegedly being part of the Zodiaco criminal gang and participating in at least three kidnappings. Cassez denied having any knowledge of her boyfriend’s criminal activities and alleged that Mexican police staged her arrest for television cameras.
According to Cassez’s lawyer, she was “very excited” about the Supreme Court ruling. Attorney Agustin Acosta added that “It is a historic decision and a precedent in the defense of human rights.”
However, according to Isabel Miranda de Wallace, an anti-crime advocate and the president of a well-known Mexican anti-kidnapping group, “…this opens the door to impunity and leaves the victims empty-handed.”
French President Francois Hollande praised the court the Supreme Court’s decision and Cassez’s release. ”The thoughts of the head of state go to Florence Cassez, her family and those close to her,” his office said in a statement. “For them, as for all of those who have mobilized for our compatriot, this is a particularly painful period that has come to an end.”
On the same note, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he “He welcomes the prospect of seeing Florence Cassez return to France as soon as possible” while expressing his “deep solidarity” to “everyone who helped her in her fight for truth and justice.”
Photograph: BBC, Reuters