French woman’s wrongful imprisonment in Mexico is cause for international concern
I and those undersigned would wish to draw your readers' attention to the plight of 36-year-old Frenchwoman Florence Cassez, who has been sentenced by a Mexican court to 61 years in prison — commuted, if that's the word, from 92 — for alleged involvement in a kidnapping. There is a great deal of information on Ms Cassez's case online, and she has received incredible support in her native France, even in Mexico, and from the Catholic Church in Mexico too. Festivals and demonstrations have been organised in her support.
She has already spent almost six years in prison: the length of her overall tariff amounts, in effect, to a death-sentence. Her ex-boyfriend in Mexico insists that she had nothing to do with it and knew nothing about his activities as alleged leader of the kidnapping gang responsible, 'Los Zodiacos'.
Under the Strasbourg Convention, surely she should be permitted to spend her term in her home country. But the Mexican authorities have refused, in spite of the intercession of President Nicolas Sarkozy, to permit this.
Apart from one article in The Guardian newspaper, there has been little or nothing to inform the general public in the UK or here in Ireland — where, surely, we have sufficient experience of miscarriages of justice.
There are glaring inconsistencies in the testimony of witnesses in this case, which are too numerous to list here. In a particularly hideous travesty, the police arranged for both plaintiffs to be ‘arrested’ at a fake event staged for the Mexican media, an act which could only have served to have her tried, as it were, by television and the press before the Mexican public. She has just endured her final appeal against the sentence.
I sincerely hope that the public will take an interest in this case and seek out what information is available. Whatever we can do, surely we must do.
1 Carn Ard,
George Szirtes, (poet, critic).
Kevin Kiely (writer, critic).
Shay Leon (studio producer).
Cllr Nial McNelis (Galway City Council).
Ré Ó Laighleis (writer).
Raymond Deane (composer, activist).
Jane Dobson (England).
Derrick Hambleton (Galway City Community Forum).
Martin Egan (writer).
Lelia Doolin (writer, film-maker).
Knute Skinner (writer).
Pete Mullineaux (writer).
Brian Wynne (writer).
Doreen Wynne (potter).
Margaretta D'Arcy (writer).
John Arden (writer).