Friday 19 April 2013

Cynthia Vanier release echoes Cassez case

Vanier in hospital in Chetumal, October 14, 2012 (La politica)
Cynthia Vanier’s release from her prison cell in Chetumal, Mexico, has come about as a result of a protracted legal battle in which she had challenged the basis for her arrest.

An initial finding had not been in her favour, but this most recent decision, which does not reflect on her guilt or innocence with regard to an alleged plot to smuggle Saadi Gaddafi to Mexico in 2011, concluded that there were enough procedural snafus to make her detention illegal.

These circumstances, though wildly differing in detail to the Florence Cassez case, nonetheless echoed the circumstances surrounding the release of the French national, who had been convicted of kidnapping, but was later released when it was determined that the process of evidence collection was so profoundly corrupted it was impossible for her to receive a fair trial.

Vanier, who was arrested early in November 2011 along with three others, had argued that lack of consular and legal access and the flimsiness of the evidence – much of it from anonymous sources that could not be verified, or from questionable sources that could not be cross-examined – made the case against her untenable.

Now, a Supreme Court Tribunal has agreed, and Vanier, along with her co-accused Gabriela de Cueto, has been released. A third man, Pierre Flensborg, is also expected to be released. The fate of the fourth, a Mexican national, is unknown.

La politica has been following this case closely and had deliberately held back on some reporting as the release date neared. This story is still breaking: we will soon be in a position to report extensively on the circumstances behind the release.

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

For related stories see also:

April 20, 2013: Gabriela de Cueto on US soil as Cynthia Vanier awaits deportation

Twitter: @TimothyEWilson
Email: lapoliticaeslapolitica [at] gmail [dot] com

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