Florence Cassez and the true face of the Mexican justice

The Florence Cassez’s case is unprecedented in recent Mexican justice. The so called promise of change that the right wing party, the National Action Party (PAN), bragged by its 2000 presidential candidate and former Mexican president Vicente Fox, never came. After a decade in power of the right wing it seems that the country is in a constant decline and becoming into the worst version of the Revolutionary Institutional Party’s regime (PRI). What it should have been the overthrow of a political regime of more then seven decades, where corruption, injustice, human rights abuses and anti-democratic practices prevailed, the political transition of 2000 just reinforced this.



Florence Cassez is not the only person to be lock up in jail unfairly, there are many Mexicans being sent to jail for not committing a crime. The only differences of the Frenchwoman’s case with the other cases, was that she had a TV arrest with political implications and above all an overseas impact. This in some way has brought to the public attention the inefficient and corrupt Mexican justice system and of high rank government officials.


With the drug war and the fight against the organized crime, President Felipe Calderon’s government seems to be in a constant race to detain members of drug gang and dismantle kidnapping gangs at all costs, no matter if in the process they sent innocents to prison. This urgency is due to counteract the perceptions of a large number of Mexicans that strongly believes that the drug war and the fight against the organized crime is lost.


The Florence Cassez controversy


The denial to grant Florence Cassez’s final appeal on February 10th, was the straw that broke the camel’s back between Mexico and France. Many opinion leaders and public personalities expressed in the press their outrage that French president, Nicolas Sarkozy decided to dedicate the Year of Mexico in France’ to the Frenchwoman, three times convicted for her “involvement” in the kidnapped of three people, or as the local media labeled her as “La secuestradora francesa” (The French kidnapper), long before she was trial. They also blame French president Sarkozy of politicize the case. There is no doubt that this case was politicized, but not by the French government, but by the Mexican authorities.


Anyone that revised the 10,000 pages of the case dossier, in which the 36 year old Frenchwomen is just mention in 20 pages, and have a little common sense will notice that Florence Cassez was convicted, based only in the victims statements where they incriminated her, and it is fair to say, that this happened couple months later, after the defendant revealed by phone on national television, during the TV show "Punto de Partida" (Televisa) hosted by Denise Maerker, that her real arrest took place a day before her televised arrest. Beyond that, we should all raise the question, why didn’t the authorities and judges took into account the remaining 9,980 documents of the dossier where Miss Cassez isn’t mention? It’s more then evident that they didn’t investigated the others that are involved and were pointed out by the victims, and included on the case dossier. It is still hard to believe that the gang of "Los Zodiacos" operated only with just two members, can that even be considered as organized crime?!


After following closely and studying the case for the past three years, I have no doubt that this case turned out to be more of a revenge from the Mexican authorities against Florence Cassez instead of doing justice. It all looks that it was simply unacceptable and intolerable for the authorities and especially for the masterminds of the televised rescue operation, that a foreigner woman placed them on a uncomfortable and embarrassing position on national television, that they had no other choice but to accept that, what the Mexicans saw that morning of December 9th 2005 on their television screens was, what they like to call, a “recreation” by request of journalists.


What if, hypothetically speaking, Florence Cassez would have stayed quiet and not confront publicly to the high rank police officials, probably she would be freed discreetly and anyone would have known. The major concern of all this, is the fact that the Mexican judicial systems deliberated in this case in particularly in favor of the interests of the executive branch, as it was reported on the Mexican weekly magazine “Proceso” edition #1790 20/02/11. Where it points out that the private secretary of President Calderon held a private meeting with the ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice, to warn them that if the appeal is granted to Florence Cassez, “not only the Secretary of Public Security would go down but also the government’s fight against the organized crime”. Despite all of these, they are expecting to convince not only the Mexican public opinion, but the French government as well, that the Mexican justice is hundred percent independent and trustworthy.

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Anonyme: Before you accuse France 24 for the views expressed in the post, you must know that the views expressed in this blog are exclusively mine, a Mexican journalist and blogger, and in any way reflects the views of the network. That clarified, in my post I'm not defending Florence Cassez because of her nationality, but because it has been proven that the whole legal process has serious flaws up to the point that a high court judge, Arturo Zaldivar, recently seek to give her the final appeal, that she was denied an year ago, and her immediate release, due to the illegal procedures committed by the police during her arrests and violating her fundamental rights such as presumption of innocence and to have a due process. The word of the victims aren't enough to condemn someone, their testimonies have to be verified, which clearly didn't happened, despite that they all fell into contradiction throughout the whole trial. It's been a huge controversy for the past six years in Mexico and most recently there has been a huge public debate from both sides, those that strongly believe in Florence Cassez guiltiness and those that condemn the police and Genaro Garcia Luna, current Secretary of Public Safety, for their illegal procedures to do justice and advocate that the Mexican authorities act within the rule of law and respect the due process. What we must all understand, that this isn't just about Florence Cassez, her case is just the tip of the iceberg, its about the well being of all Mexican and to have the certainty that no one else will be detained arbitrary, and be accused falsely of committing a crime. Illegality can't be fought with illegality.
Gosh stupidity has no boundaries!..... just because she was French doesn't mean that she can't be an ill psychopath criminal..... its so unfair that you guys judge and throw shit on Mexico for having poor regulations and when finally they put criminals in jail based on testimonials then you complain if french people who turn out to be criminals are put in prison. It is disrespectful to the victims of Cassez and her boyfriend your attempts to delegitimize the case when there are facts and testimonials supporting it. Mexico is not a powerful country and its economy is highly dependent in international trades with the first world. Mexico has no reason to prosecute and attempt against foreign nationals with no basis because the sanctions could turn out very detrimental for national interests. This attempt to vilify Mexicans as being corrupt, pervert is an act of racism and you all should be ashamed of yourselves. This just shows how racist and judgmental people can be in first world countries towards developing countries. Criminals exist among nations and this condition knows no boundaries with respect to gender, race, ethnicity nor social class. Just as not all Mexicans are corrupt criminals, not all French, Irish, Canadians and Americans are corrupt. If I went to France to kidnap people and I sure would deserve to be imprisoned and face the consequences of my actions. Instead of being so racist trying to free someone who already has done enough bad why don't you try to be productive and try to actually do something good for the world? Bottom line: There is no race is above any other one, and people needs to be punished for their actions..... inform yourselves and think for yourselves
In reply to "10 March 2011 - 15h58"'s comment Are u insane ? Where have you ever read that Florence Cassez acknowledged having witnessed sexual abuse ? God, you should really try to get informed and not mix the facts with rumors. Christina in her first statement said that she had been well treated by her kidnappers and that she was never sexually abused. Textual. She was then forced to change her first statement in order to charge her "kidnapper" directly... And now you're saying that Cassez did acknowledge having witness a raping ? That kind of comment makes me sick. Really. Thanks to the (mexican) author of this blog.
There are strong evidence that points out that the victims never stepped foot in Israel’s ranch, until the TV “recreation”. The victims described perfectly well the house in Xochimilco, were they were held in captivity, however, each of the victims gave a very different descriptions of “La Cabañita” located inside of Israel’s ranch. One of the victims declared that the kidnappers had always the TV turned on with loud volume. It was later proven that “La Cabañita” never had electricity. Also the gardener, who always had the key, went in and out to grabbed his tools during the previous month of the staging arrest and he didn’t saw anything unusual. Cristina and his son Christian didn’t recognized Florence Cassez on their first statement ( December 9th 2005) and they never mention a woman within their kidnappers. They incriminated her after they were cited by the SIEDO on February 10th 2006. Although there isn’t any statement dated of that day or the motive of why they were cited there, the entering registration of the SIEDO confirms that this meeting did indeed took place. It should be noted that this happened just a few days after Florence Cassez phoned to the TV studio of “Punto de Partida” (Televisa) and revealed that her arrest took place a day before the TV arrest. In the case of Ezequiel is hard to believe him, cause he contradicted throughout the case. For example, he first claim that he recognized her by a tuft of hair, because she always had her face and head cover, then he claimed that he did in fact saw her face. He lied regarding that Florence Cassez injected his finger with an anesthetic in order to mutilate it; there is an medical examination that confirms this. It’s also important to mention that all of the victims in their first statement (December 9th 2005) pointed out that members of their in-law family were the ones behind their kidnap. As I mention in my opinion piece the police authorities didn’t investigated these people. Florence Cassez is just mention in 20 pages in a case file of 10,000. For the authorities this case is close, but the only convicted is the Frenchwoman. After five years, Israel Vallarta, the so called leader of “Los Zodiaco” kidnapping gang has not yet been sentence. I do not defend criminals and I never will, but what I do defend, is the truth and a fair justice, and this is what all Mexicans we should defend. The controversial documentary “Persunto Culpable” (Presumed Guilty) is the best proof of how easy is for the authorities to accused anyone of committing a crime and fabricate evidences, and its slogan sums it up very well: “In Mexico, being innocent isn’t enough to be free”. Is amazing how many people is backing this film to avoid it of being banned its screening for good, but still many believes, after viewing this film, that justice has been served in the Florence Cassez’s case, despite all of the irregularities, contradictions and omission throughout this case. At the end, this case turned out to be more of a struggle of national pride, specially from the Mexican authorities, instead of siding with the truth and justice. I hope this answered the questions raised in the last two comments?
Ok, even if we agree with your opinion on the systemic problems of the political class in Mexico and the narcotraffic issues we indeed do have... ARE YOU GOING TO JUSTIFY a girl who was very aware of what he's boyfriend was doing, so aware that she acknowledge the fact that this "animal" use to abuse her female victims in front of her... This goes beyond any political issue I think. It is shameful that you defend to this kind of people. It talks a lot about the kind of person you are. I'm going to tell you something as a mexican who works everiday for getting a better country: I'm glad you live in France, and please never come back here, we do not need people like you, we do not need kidnappers defenders.
Yes, it is true that the Mexican Government, The Juditial system and the police are corrupted, but not 100%. Yes, they recreated the arrest for media purposes, and maybe they not arrest to the leadears of this bands, many times coluded with the authorities. And yes, maybe its a case of revenge from the Mexican authorities against Florence Cassez. But After following closely and studying the case for the past three years, as he says, I just want the author of the article answer this question? Did she kidnap a child or not? So, she is a criminal or not? But she did comit the crime. I thing France must respect the human rights of the victims, even most of the victims of crime are dead.
i dont think any mexican will agree that the justice in mexico is 100% trustoworthy, but it is 100% independent of french influence. dont like it? stay in france.
Who wrote this article? Obviously someone that doesn't live with the constant threat of criminals walking in the streets everyday. She is guilty, the information is clear, proofs were submitted... have you participated in the trail process? off course not. Mexico could have flaws but will not use a criminal the way France is doing it... you "first world people" think that you are always right, but thats b ll sht, you don't know a thing. Good luck for justice that the videos were not used as part of the process or the criminals would be out in the street causing more death and damage. http://www.excelsior.com.mx/index.php?m=nota&id_nota=713639
It is exactly what goes around in Mexico.. it is a real shame to see innocent people in jail and authorities NOT DOING ANYTHING... Congrats for this article, I loved the way you expressed your ideas and the way you wrote .... always a pleasure to follow you. Regards from Iceland.
This is all biased B.S. against a country that you don't know at all. Of course everyone will to say n'importe quoi here, specially those in agreement of this outrageous comments. Just remember something: Cassez is still in jail, so who's winning? Cassez's boyfriend was a self admitted kidnaper and both were arrested with arms in their possession, even if that was one day before. Cassez used to live with her boyfriend in the same house in which kidnapped people were found, all this in spite of being arrested a day after. Just think, use logic, could it be she's innocent? Maybe, but unlikely, of course she and her lawyer will always say she's innocent. You should use your brains...
realmente cierto. vivimos en el temor de la policia. de hecho cierta vez fui asaltado por unos patrulleros en el centro de mexico. no denucie ese hecho por el temor de que los papeles se invirtieran y que yo fuera el acusado. mucha gente no confia en la policia. de hecho he visto en tv las noticias acerca de florence cassez y estoy de acuerdo que se le extradite a su pais para que ahi cumpla su condena porque considero que francia es un pais vanguardista y en nuestro caso nuestro sistema de justicia tiene infinidad de deficiencias. lamento el hecho de que haya autoridades que no permitan su extradición a francia y considero que en este caso nuestro pais se esta comportando como un cobarde que pide buen trato a los mexicanos en estados unidos y aqui tratan mal a los centro- y sud-americanos; pide que se considere a mexicanos condenados en estados unidos de america y no puede acceder a una simple extradicion solicitada inclusive por el mandatario de francia. me parece que es una actitud como de un niño lloron y caprichoso y no de una autoridad honorable, madura, equilibrada y justa. tenemos algo que aprender de mexico?
I lived through this same nightmare and was unjustly convicted in Mexico to a 9 year sentence. My fight took over 4 years. I lost my appeal, and thank God I was finally exonerated and released in the Amparo. In the prison I was held, 40% of the people had not been sentenced (as of 2010) and 95% of those sentenced received condemnatory sentences, which leaves no room for a margin of error. The average public defender carries at least 600 cases and sometimes doesn't even know the name of his/her client, doesn't know the case, and most Mexicans don't like to read even though the cases are all written not oral.
I am from Canada. I have been working on the case of Pavel Kulisek, who has been incarcerated in Puente Grande prison in Guadalajara, Mexico for three years on March 11 of this year. Like Florence, he was kidnapped of the streets and accused of crimes he could not possibly have committed if one follows the trail of connections and the testimonies of friends and neighbous in the town of Los Barriles where he and his wife Jirina and their two young children lived. The Canadian government, unlike the French government refuses to get involved in the case and as a result, Pavel, whose Amparo appeals have run out, may be convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He is slowly loosing his mind. If you like to read more about this case, please go to: http://open.salon.com/blog/hans_denee
Perfect, I full agree with with article.

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