Thursday, July 21, 2011

French Divided Over French Woman In Mexico Jail: Take A Hard Noisy Line Or One Quiet And Subtle?

Posted by Peter Quennell

You’d be surprised - or maybe not - at how very rare it is that publicly impugning another country’s legitimacy and competence really pays off.

Good governments and good international lawyers and good public relations experts all very rapidly move to take negotiations quietly behind the scenes. Though that may not guarantee the outcome they want, it usually results in some wiggle room and softening.

But the opportunity for this passes very fast.

We have only ever seen a hard line out of the unblinking Italian courts in Meredith’s case, up to and including the Supreme Court of Cassation in their rejection of Guede’s final appeal. The hardline PR seems to have hit a wall. And Amanda Knox (in the calunnia trial) and her biological parents (in theirs) and the family of Raffaele Sollecito (in their perversion of justice trial) all seem to have hit their own individual walls.

It is hard to see what the hardline PR campaign for Amanda Knox has achieved other than that equal and opposite Italian hard line.  After a very silly start the Knox family legal advisor Ted Simon seems to have tried to get away from all that, and to move things behind closed doors.

Florence Cassez’s case is very well described in the Wikipedia entry.

Now 36, she moved to Mexico from France in 2003, ended up with a Mexican boyfriend who was decidedly bad news, and in December 2005 was arrested for her part in kidnapping three people for ransom.

Kidnapping is huge in Mexico, and along with the wars over the supplying of Americans with drugs, it comes top of most people’s most-feared list. 

In line with the Mexican government’s efforts to try to stamp out all the kidnapping, Florence Cassez was given a very harsh sentence. It is now set at 60 years. There are dozens of French and Spanish-language reports and YouTubes on the case.

She has had one appeal which failed and right now she serves out her 60 years.

Almost without exception, Mexicans feel it was a well-proven case and that Florence Cassez’s claims that she did not not know what was going on right under her nose when three captives were being held by her boyfriend on the same ranch rang hollow at her trial.

France has been more divided.

There are some who think she did it and must pay the piper for her crime. There are some who think a softer line might have helped. And there are some, like President Sarkozy, who have taken a very hard line. They seem to have upset Mexico’s president and senior officials and not influenced the judges at all.

France has no sentence longer than 20 years for kidnapping-related crimes so the Mexican government has closed the door to her returning to France and serving out her sentence in prison there.

After more time passes and presidential elections happen in Mexico and France, the deadlock might be broken, and the case could be reviewed and Florence Cassez’s fate become something different.

But for now she has only her “friends” to thank. 

Below: two of the few videos with English commentary or subtitles, both pro-Florence Cassez, the first some years old, and the second early this year.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/21/11 at 04:28 PM in The legal followupsThe wider contexts


That image of Florence Cassez above staring at her boyfriend looks like one of those WTF moments that Alessi’s wife also seems to have passed through.

Though the blindfolded kidnapping victims do seem to think she was in it as much as he was and pretty mean to them.

Sollecito and Guede and Knox all seem to have had their share of WTF moments since they were arrested for Meredith’s murder. Interesting if Knox or Sollecito take the stand and throw the other one to the dogs.

Giulia Bongiorno is quite capable of pulling that one off with Sollecito. She is tougher and more daring than the rather bumbling Ghirga and Dalla Vedova and she does not like to lose.

On the other hand, who could restrain La Knox?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/21/11 at 06:28 PM | #

Sollecito surely could do this with his chemical signature smile.

Posted by Helder Licht on 07/22/11 at 11:48 AM | #

The public must forever get past looks and gender as reasons to blame the males involved more than females. There are far too many examples where the female is given the benefit of the doubt because her accomplice was her boyfriend or husband. There are ruthless women. And some are as bloodthirsty as any man. I guess what I’m saying is nothing new if you are involved in crime then do the time and shut up.

Posted by friar fudd on 07/23/11 at 02:45 AM | #

What about Bonnie and Clyde ?

Posted by aethelred23 on 07/23/11 at 08:50 PM | #

It sometimes seems to me that there’s a never ending supply of people who behave badly in foreign countries, then expect to be treated differently when caught, because, well, they’re foreigners.

I’ve travelled enough countries around the world to know the system of justice that prevails elsewhere might be a little rough, maybe even, corrupt.

But if you want to engage my sympathy, please don’t insult my intelligence with appeals to emotion or illogical, untruthful arguments.

Please don’t act like loons because there’s enough bad manners, and discourtesy in the world without people encouraging MORE of it.

I’d have supported Amanda Knox with the same vigor if you’d made the case for her innocence, which sadly, you haven’t, and, as appears in the case of Florence Cassez, hers, too.

And the media needs to look at law of diminishing returns. People stop going ‘woof’, or drooling, when the bell rings 😊

Posted by Ergon on 07/23/11 at 11:08 PM | #

With Monday’s hearingin Perugia looming, I’m not surprised to find new pro-Amanda reporting out there. The first link takes you to a CBS News clip that repeats the idea that the DNA report on Monday will get the double-DNA knife evidence thrown out and has an “expert” saying that without that knife there is no evidence.;lst;1;lst;1

The second link is for an Australian newspaper article which gives us the usual Edda and Curt “our poor daughter” show once again.

Posted by Sailor on 07/24/11 at 12:02 AM | #

Hi Ergon,

Some things to remember:

It’s not about your traveling (in the world, or earlier lives), not about your intelligence, or your available sympathy.

It is about justice and people and not about dogs. Dogs are animals. 😉

Posted by Helder Licht on 07/24/11 at 01:41 AM | #

Hi Helder,

I may not have been clear that I was adressing the Amandii and Florence Cassez’s supporters, but as to dogs, I really was joking HUMAN BEING’S Pavlovian responses to media manipulation. My dry humour, my bad.


Posted by Ergon on 07/24/11 at 09:37 AM | #

Hi Ergon,

Complete religions are build on describing OTHER human being’s Pavlovian responses . . . .


Posted by Helder Licht on 07/24/11 at 07:12 PM | #
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