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Frenchwoman freed from Mexican jail arrives home

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.

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

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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POLICE

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

A Frenchwoman and a Spaniard were killed and nine other mountaineers were injured on Friday in an ice fall in southwest Switzerland, police said following a rescue attempt involving several helicopters.

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

Police received calls at 6.20 am reporting that mountaineers had been caught up in falling seracs — columns of glacial ice formed by crevasses — on the Grand Combin, a glacial massif near the Italian border in the Wallis region.

Seven helicopters with mountain rescue experts flew to the scene, finding 17 mountaineers split among several groups.

“Two people died at the scene of the accident,” Wallis police said in a statement. They were a 40-year-old Frenchwoman and a 65-year-old man from Spain.

Nine mountaineers were airlifted to hospitals in nearby Sion and in Lausanne. Two of them are seriously injured, police said.

Other mountaineers were evacuated by helicopter.

The regional public prosecutor has opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this event”, the police said.

The serac fall happened at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Plateau de Dejeuner section along the Voie du Gardien ascent route.

The Grand Combin massif has three summits above 4,000 metres, the highest of which is the Combin de Grafeneire at 4,314 metres.

The police issued a note of caution about setting off on such high-altitude expeditions.

“When the zero-degree-Celsius isotherm is around 4,000 metres above sea level, it is better to be extra careful or not attempt the route if in doubt,” Wallis police said.

“The golden rule is to find out beforehand from the mountain guides about the chosen route and its current feasibility.”

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