AFP, published on Monday 05 July 2021 at 19:11
Mexican authorities on Monday arrested a former federal police officer accused of torturing four people involved in the case of Frenchwoman Florence Cassez, convicted of “kidnapping” in Mexico before her trial was called off.
“On this day (Monday), an arrest warrant was served by the State of Mexico on Luis ‘C’ for the offense of torture,” the Mexican attorney general’s office announced on Twitter.
The targeted officer, Luis Cardenas Palomino, headed the regional security division within the former Mexican Federal Police.
The former official was considered the right hand of Genaro García Luna, Secretary of Public Security under the government of Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) and who was arrested in the United States in December 2019 for drug trafficking.
A judge had issued an arrest warrant against Mr. Cardenas Palomino in September 2020 because he suspected him of torturing four people accused of kidnapping, including a brother and a nephew of Israel Vallarta, the former companion of Florence Cassez .
The case dates back to 2005, when Mexican authorities showed television cameras the arrest of suspected gang members accused of kidnapping, forcible confinement and carrying prohibited weapons, allegedly including Mr. Vallarta. and Mrs. Cassez.
The Frenchwoman was sentenced in 2008 to 96 years’ imprisonment for kidnapping and forcible confinement. Her sentence was reduced on appeal to 60 years in 2009, and on January 23, 2013, she was released after her conviction was overturned by the Mexican Supreme Court, which ruled that her constitutional rights had been violated by the authorities. and that the evidence had been tampered with.
The affair had caused a diplomatic quarrel between Mexico and France, as well as a strong emotion within a part of the Mexican public opinion.
The attitude and public interventions of French political figures, foremost among them Nicolas Sarkozy, then President of the Republic (2007-2012), had been sharply criticized in return by a part of civil society and Mexican political leaders.