France - Mexico

Jailed French woman Cassez, victim of Mexican media hate campaign says lawyer

The lawyer for Florence Cassez, the French woman convicted in Mexico on kidnapping charges and sentenced to 60 years in jail, claims the Mexican government is trying to discredit his client just ahead of a Supreme Court ruling on her case. 


Franck Berton, who met President Nicolas Sarkozy with Cassez’s parents on Thursday, says Mexico’s interior minister, Genaro Garcia Luna, is conducting a press campaign against Cassez accusing her of recruiting fellow prisoners to take part in illegal activities.

“This is totally untrue,” said Berton, “they have not identified the other prisoners, the name of the journalist making the accusations has not been revealed and there has been no official prison report into the claims.”

Cassez’ appeal is currently under review by the Supreme Court after her defense said her arrest was tainted by the authorities who admitted staging it for the media five years ago.

The case has strained relations between France and Mexico. Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon was given a frosty welcome by Sarkozy at last week’s G20 summit in the French resort of Cannes.

Mexico has also refused requests by Sarkozy to have Cassez transferred to a prison in France to serve her sentence.

Berton says a number of non-governmental organizations have now agreed to bring several Mexican politicians, including Calderon and Garcia Luna, before the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity.

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