The Narco News Bulletin
February 19, 2018 | Issue #65
narconews.com - Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America
Mexico City - The French journalist Anne Vigna, author of a book critical of the administration of justice in Mexico, accused police there of fabricating evidence against her compatriot Florence Cassez, who was sentenced to 60 years in prison for kidnapping.
Florence Cassez, when she was detained by Federal Police.
Cassez was arrested on December 8, 2005 on the Mexico-Cuernavaca highway along with her boyfriend Israel Vallarta, presumed head of the "Zodiac" gang; however, one day later, a piece was made for television that showed the live capture of the presumed kidnappers at the house where the victims were held.
Vigna, co-author with fellow journalist Alain Devalpo of the recently released book "Manufactured Culprits: Florence Cassez and other cases of Mexican injustice," rejects the assertion that her work is just intended to "help a fellow French woman."
She states that if they had found "anything against her," they would have included it in the publication, but that did not happen.
Vigna explains that the result of the investigation incontrovertibly helps Cassez, who is currently serving her sentence, delivered by a judge in 2009, at the Santa Martha Acatitla Prison in Mexico City.
"She has been saying that she is innocent for 4-1/2 years. During our investigation, we have not found a single shred of proof in the record of her culpability," she stated.
Vigna does not understand why the judge in the case received information about the participation of other individuals in the kidnappings, but did not pursue it or take any action as a result.
For Vigna, the work draws the conclusion that once "the Mexican justice system accuses you of wrong doing, they charge you, and it is very difficult to be able to prove your innocence."
Cassez herself has publicly accused the ex-director of the now dissolved Federal Investigation Agency (AFI), Genaro García Luna, who was named Minister of Public Security in December 2006, of using the case to promote himself, exploiting the fact that the battle of against kidnapping is a highly sensitive issue in Mexican society.
The author is pleased that the government of Felipe Calderón has initiated major reforms to the penal system, but she regrets that the reforms include a strengthening of police powers.
"The power that the police have in this country is of great concern because there is no other institution that checks that power," she maintains.
As an example of this, she cites the case of Jacinta Francisco, who was accused along with several other indigenous people of the 2006 kidnapping of 6 federal police officers in Santiago Mexquititlán, in the state of Querétaro, based only on the testimony of the agents.
Vigna, who collaborated with other journalists from Mexico and abroad, works with various French media outlets, including the television network France 2, Le Monde Diplomatique, and the magazine Marianne.