Jailed Frenchwoman appeals kidnapping case in Mexico

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Lawyers for Frenchwoman Florence Cassez, sentenced to 60 years in Mexico on kidnapping charges, on Monday filed an appeal, claiming the case had violated the constitution and the woman's rights.

"Our file for appeal invokes both the Mexican Constitution, the rights of our client and universal human rights," said lawyer Frank Berton to journalists outside the federal penal court.

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

The arrest was supposedly broadcast live on Mexican television, but police later admitted that it had been reconstructed for the media.

The lawyers say the arrest was staged and that police acted illegally, which undermined the whole case.

"We're filled with hope that Mexico's Supreme Court will take on this constitutional file, which is also a simple story, a story completely set up with the media in mind," Berton said.

Mexican police investigators opened an inquiry in 2006 into those involved in the arrest, but no results have been published.

Vallarta has admitted his part in the crimes and said Cassez was innocent.

Cassez has repeatedly protested her innocence and claimed she was made a scapegoat by Mexican authorities keen to show a tough stance on rampant kidnappings.

© 2010 AFP

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