Jailed Frenchwoman to appeal to top Mexican court

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A Frenchwoman imprisoned in Mexico on kidnapping charges will Monday present an appeal to the country's Supreme Court, her Mexican lawyer said, amid a diplomatic spat over the case.

Florence Cassez seeks to show that a February 10 appeal court ruling, which confirmed her 60-year sentence, was unconstitutional, lawyer Agustin Acosta told AFP.

The new appeal would be effective from 1.30 pm (1930 GMT), Acosta added.

Mexico's government last month canceled a year of Mexican cultural celebrations in France after French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he would dedicate them to Cassez, following the appeal court decision.

Mexican judges then rejected the argument that her conviction was tainted by the authorities, who were shown to have staged her arrest for the media five years ago.

Prosecutors have admitted the staging of the arrest, but the appeals court ruled it had no effect on her conviction.

Cassez, 36, was arrested the day before the media event, along with her ex-boyfriend Israel Vallarta, a Mexican citizen.

She was accused of involvement in a kidnapping ring allegedly run by Vallarta.

Cassez has denied any knowledge of the crimes, and claims she was made an example of by authorities keen to show a firm stance against kidnappings.

© 2011 AFP

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