Alleged French kidnapper to serve sentence in Mexico

23rd June 2009, Comments 0 comments

Frenchwoman Florence Cassez, sentenced to 60 years in prison for her alleged role in a kidnapping gang.

Mexico City- Frenchwoman Florence Cassez, sentenced to 60 years in prison for her alleged role in a kidnapping gang, must serve her sentence in Mexico, President Felipe Calderon said Monday.

The Mexican government "has come to the conclusion that the necessary conditions are have not been met to agree to transfer Florence Cassez to France" to carry out her sentence, as requested by the French government, Calderon said.

"She will therefore serve out her 60-year prison sentence in Mexico for crimes committed against several people in our country."

Cassez, 34, was arrested in December 2005 at the home of her Mexican boyfriend, alleged gangster Israel Vallarta, where police found several kidnapping victims who were being held for ransom.

She has repeatedly denied any knowledge of the crimes.

She was initially convicted last year and sentenced to 96 years in jail, but that sentence was reduced on appeal to 60 years, of which she has already served three.

The detainee, Calderon said, was "tried in accordance with the law."

During an official visit in March, French President Nicolas Sarkozy sought to have Cassez released to a prison in France.

Calderon subsequently agreed to set up a binational committee of jurists to study the matter. Local media had repeatedly said that Mexican members of the committee had decided against the transfer, a claim that was not confirmed until Calderon's address.

Media and rights groups in Mexico, where some 8,000 people are kidnapped each year, had expressed outrage at the possibility that Cassez could be allowed to transfer to a French jail.

AFP / Expatica

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