'Victim Of A Dysfunctional System': French Citizen Florence Cassez Released From Mexican Prison After Legal Missteps
By Ryan Villarreal | January 30, 2013 9:23 AM EST
The release of a French woman accused of being involved in a criminal organization and a kidnapping in Mexico has set off a wave of criticism against the Mexican justice system.
Florence Cassez, who was sentenced in 2007 to 60 years in prison in connection with kidnapping charges, was released last Wednesday after the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that her rights had been violated.
Cassez was denied consular assistance for over 24 hours after being arrested in violation of the Vienna Convention and was forced by Mexican authorities to re-enact her arrest on live television during that period.
The first violation was grounds enough to throw out Cassez’s case, with the second instance casting further doubt on the fairness of her trial due to its disregard for her presumption of innocence.
"[My release] is a great victory for Mexicans," Cassez told reporters after her release, according to the BBC.
Cassez has maintained her innocence over the past seven years, saying that she was unaware of the three hostages being held at a ranch where she was staying with her then-boyfriend in 2005.
Despite the legal missteps in her case and Cassez’s repeated claims of innocence, many in Mexico have protested her released, viewing it as a miscarriage of justice and an instance of preferential treatment for a foreigner.
"We are a disgusting country," said Ezequiel Elizalde, who was previously kidnapped by “The Zodiacs” gang, of which Cassez was accused of being involved with, the BBC reported. “"Must we now walk around carrying arms like vigilantes?"
Cassez was welcomed back in France, where she met with President Francois Hollande whose government had lobbied for her release, carrying on efforts taken up by the previous administration of Nicolas Sarkozy.
Cassez said she understood some people’s frustration with her release, but maintains that she was a “victim” of a dysfunctional justice system.
"It is clear that the Cassez case is only a symptom of a police and judicial system which is showing major cracks and is in profound need of repair," wrote legal expert Miguel Carbonell of the Autonomous University in Mexico City, the BBC reported.
"Florence Cassez may now be safe from this dysfunctional system, but more than 110 million Mexicans continue to be exposed to all manner of mistreatment at the hands of the police, the public prosecutors and the judges, either as victims of crime or as the accused," he added.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Flight MH17 Attack: Russians Claim 'Putin A Terrorist,' Memorial at Dutch Embassy Overflows [PHOTOS]
- Typhoon Rammasun Claims 18 Lives in China, Incurs $4.32B Losses (PHOTOS)
- Ellen DeGeneres Caught Cheating with Mutual Friend Before Portia de Rossi’s Rehab – Reports [PHOTOS]
- Typhoon Matmo Leaves 32k Customers w/o Electricity in Taiwan, Weakens After Landing in China
Join the Conversation
- Ideological Support Swells for Scottish Independence
- Malaysia Airlines MH17: Dutch Wants Putin's Daughter Maria Deported to Russia From Holland
- New Zealand and China Decide to Boost Defence Ties
- Gaza Crisis: 695 Dead & 4,500 Injured, UN Accuses Israel of War Crimes
- Scientists Warn MERS Virus Could be Spread Airborne
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Apps Leak Online, Five Fresh Features to Expect from the Android Smartphone
- Moto 360 Price Speculations, Key Features, Strategic Release Date, Design: A Watch That is More Than Just Time
- Windows Phone 8.1 Update Rollout: 20 Nokia Lumia Phones Eligible and 13 New Features to be Added
- HTC Google Nexus 8 Release Date Imminent with New Nexus 7 Deals, Two New Tablets Soon
- Three New Moto G Successors Spotted in FCC Document Dubbed Moto G2, Moto M and More --Reports
- iPad Air 2 Release Date Will Skip IGZO Panel; To Rollout with Super-Slim iPad Mini Air
- Upcoming iPad Mini 3 Could be 30% Thinner and Likely be Called iPad Mini Air; Apple Q3 Results Show 9% Decrease in iPad Sales