Frenchwoman’s release ordered in Mexico

A justice at Mexico's Supreme Court has proposed the immediate release of Frenchwoman Florence Cassez, sentenced to 60 years for kidnapping, in a motion to be voted on by five judges.

Judge Arturo Zaldivar wrote that Cassez had been denied immediate access to consular rights, had not been immediately presented to a prosecutor on her 2005 arrest and had not been presumed innocent, a statement said Wednesday.

The violations left the Frenchwoman, who is now aged 37, “totally without defence,” it said.

Cassez’s lawyer, Agustin Acosta, said the ruling should be made on March 21.

The proposal slams an alleged reconstruction of Cassez’s arrest set up by the authorities for TV cameras one day after she was actually detained in late 2005, and says officials were “consciously deforming reality.”

Mexican appeal judges last year rejected the argument that Cassez’s conviction was tainted, despite the staged arrest.

Federal police accused Cassez of being involved with a gang of kidnappers known as the Zodiacs, allegedly run by her ex-boyfriend Israel Vallarta, with whom she was arrested.

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 rampant kidnappings.

The case has strained diplomatic relations between Mexico and France. Mexico’s government canceled a year of Mexican cultural celebrations in

France after French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he would dedicate them to Cassez.

Sarkozy tried unsuccessfully to persuade Mexico to transfer Cassez to a French prison.

Five Mexican rights groups welcomed Wednesday’s proposal in a joint statement saying they supported the move.


France charges teen over ‘imminent terror attack’ plot

French authorities have charged an 18-year-old man on suspicion of planning an imminent terror attack with a knife in the name of Islamic State (IS) jihadists, a judicial source said on Wednesday.

France charges teen over 'imminent terror attack' plot

Initial investigations indicated that he planned to carry out a terror attack “in the name of IS, to which he had pledged allegiance,” said the source, who asked not to be named, adding that the man had been detained in the Drome region of southeast France and charged in Paris.

The source added that the man had been detained in the Drome region of southeast France and charged in Paris.

The man, from a Muslim family, had adopted extremist views and was considered a threat, sparking France’s anti-terror prosecutors office (PNAT) to open an investigation on May 19, a source close to the case said.

Police arrested him on Friday and a video of him swearing allegiance to IS was found in his possession.

The source did not say whom he was planning to target in the attack or in which location.

France saw a wave of jihadist attacks from 2015 that left hundreds dead and pushed the country to its highest level of security alert.

There has been no repeat of a mass atrocity in the last years, but there have been several deadly attacks carried out by lone individuals

More to follow