Florence Cassez… That name is causing strong opinion today. She is a French citizen who has been convicted of taking part in kidnappings in Mexico with the Zodiacs, a gang supposedly led by her boyfriend. She has denied involvement in any crime.
But three of the Zodiacs’ victims who were liberated at the time of Cassez’ arrest: a mother, her child and another child testified that she was one of their captors. She was convicted and sentenced to 60 years.
Since her arrest in 2005 she has repeatedly demanded that she be repatriated to France on the grounds that her civil rights were violated by the Mexican authorities. (PGR) This is true, the authorities did everything wrong.
But contrast this with what victims endured: terror while they lay sequestered, mental and physical abuse, and for some – ultimately death.
Today the Supreme Court of Mexico voted to uphold her sentence. As things stand now, she will serve the remainder of her 60 year sentence in a Mexican federal penitentiary.
However, a new panel of judges will again assess the case because today, the Supreme Court admitted that Cassez was denied immediate access to an attorney, and was not presented before the prosecutors according to the established protocol.
Her lawyer, her father and the French consul expressed outrage because Cassez’ rights had not been upheld. They want the law to be respected.
The lobby for the victims and their families has a different take on the situation. They want the victims to receive justice.
Sadly, it looks like a case where either the law or justice will be respected. It can’t be both. It also seems to be a situation where international pressure could well prevail over national morality.