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Frenchwoman freed from Mexican jail arrives home

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Frenchwoman freed from Mexican jail arrives home
France's Florence Cassez (C) gestures next to French minister Laurent Fabius (L) upon her arrival at Roissy airport in Paris. Photo: Bertrand Langlois/ AFP
14:23 CET+01:00
A Frenchwoman freed from Mexican jail after a court said police violated her rights by staging her arrest for kidnapping on national television arrived in Paris Thursday to a hero's welcome.

Florence Cassez arrived on a flight from Mexico City with her father Bernard, a day after Mexico's Supreme Court voted for her immediate release after seven years in prison in a case that strained Franco-Mexican ties.

France's foreign minister was among the many dignitaries joining her mother and members of her support committee for her arrival at Charles de Gaulle airport.

Dozens of reporters and camera crews were also in place to record the arrival of the 38-year-old whose release was hailed by President Francois Hollande, who said it marked "the end of a particularly painful period."

Hollande was due to meet her and her family later Tuesday.

Cassez, who has always proclaimed her innocence, was accused of being involved with a gang of kidnappers known as the Zodiacs, allegedly run by her ex-boyfriend Israel Vallarta.

The court justices ruled that the police violated her right to presumption of innocence and consular access when it staged her arrest in a live national television broadcast on December 9, 2005.

Mexican television showed police storming her ex-boyfriend's ranch near Mexico City, where they detained Cassez and freed three hostages as cameras rolled.

It was later revealed that Cassez had actually been arrested on a road hours before the raid. The federal police said the re-enactment was made at the request of the media.

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