The Zodiaco Case : Israel Vallarta (March 19th, 2014)

Israel Vallarta Cisneros (The Zodiaco Case)
Israel Vallarta Cisneros (The Zodiaco Case)

Source: Noticias Prodigy MSN via MXporFCassez (original version in Spanish)
Translation: JB for CART / ACDV
March 20, 2014

The Vallartas and the Calderon setups

“All my imprisoned relatives have been tortured and they all tested positive under the Istanbul Protocol,” says Guadalupe Vallarta, whose family, she maintains, has been the victim of a great political and media setup.

One by one people who were victims of legal, political and media setups in the presidential term of President Felipe Calderón and his Secretary of Public Security, Genaro García Luna, have been coming out of prison.

The prisoners were deprived of due process and denied the fundamental legal principle of the presumption of innocence. Among those unjustly imprisoned are journalists, members of the military, police chiefs and dozens of mayors from the opposition and ordinary people.

Perhaps the most publicized case is that of the Frenchwoman Florence Cassez and her then boyfriend, the Mexican Israel Vallarta.

Authorities and Televisa manufacturing guilty parties

Accused of being kidnappers, Israel Vallarta and Florence Cassez were arrested on December 8, 2005. On December 9 of that year, one day after his arrest, the police prepared at the Las Chinitas ranch, property of Vallarta, the stage of a big show.

During the night of December 8 to the 9, Israel was tortured. They took Vallarta and Cassez to Las Chinitas where the Policía Federal de Investigaciones (Federal Police of Investigations) or AFI had everything prepared to simulate before a live television broadcast that they were rescuing three victims of kidnapping.

When it became clear that the live broadcast was not a capture of Los Zodiaco caught red handed, García Luna had to admit that the arrests had been made a day earlier and that “at the request of the press” they had staged everything once again. But they staged something that did not occur as well.

What Garcia Luna never said is that Los Zodiaco never existed, that Vallarta and Cassez are not kidnappers and that the alleged victims were “planted” by the police themselves. And the television networks made fools of themselves.

Censorship and repression

Vallarta was forbidden to talk to the press. Once, he was able to communicate by phone for 10 minutes with two French journalists and, in retaliation, he was held incomunicado for months. For this reason, the family fears to meet with the press.

Guadalupe Vallarta, sister of Israel, agreed to speak with RNW and explained that while the videos for Televisa and TV Azteca were edited, in some shots one can see Cardenas Palomino, friend and subordinate of Garcia Luna, taking Vallarta by the neck with full force and digging a finger in the jugular, hurting him to force him to confess his guilt.

Three former employees of Televisa that witnessed the setup have had the courage to denounce it.

The file that nobody wants to read

In the file and the hearings, the contradictions began to emerge, especially the statements of the alleged victims that often changed their version of events. Versions do not match at all, nor does time, or places; nothing fits or makes sense.

While the French correspondents in Mexico, Anne Vigna, Leonore Mahieux, Delphine Rigaud and Emmanuelle Steels, would find inconsistencies in the process and that the government of France was interested in the case, the media onslaught against Cassez and Vallarta worsened; the police handed out press releases with false statements and evidence.

Cassez decided to handle her own case. Her lawyers’ strategy was for her sentence to be entered as soon as possible, to appeal, and to exhaust all instances to get her case to Mexico’s Supreme Court. On a court of first instance she was sentenced to 96 years in jail, but on appeal, the penalty was reduced to 60 years and then the Supreme Court declared that due process had not been followed and she was released. She was declared neither guilty nor innocent.

Two brothers and three nephews of Israel Vallarta are in jail and are victims of alleged false statements, false witnesses, and false evidence and with press releases full of lies.

Guadalupe Vallarta in an interview with RNW said that her brother’s trial is going very slow because during several years judge Olga Sánchez Contreras did not accept the evidence from the defence. Witnesses would only appear to incriminate Vallarta and Cassez, but when the defense asked to question them, they would disappear. In addition, she says, they are trying to contaminate the process inventing new offences that her relatives didn’t commit. “My brother Mario was left deaf after a beating; they ruptured his eardrum,” says Guadalupe.

Since 2009 Mrs. Vallarta has been dedicated to defending her relatives. She has been present in all the hearings and has pointed out something very peculiar: “Cardenas Palomino has always been present in all arrests, hearings, meetings; he is the one who always releases the news to the media. He always use the same compact team of judges, government departments and other officials. Sometimes they change positions but their signatures are always in the documents. Whenever they capture kidnappers, they say that they are a cell of Los Zodiaco. They torture them so they will blame the Vallartas. Israel has evidence of his innocence and seeks not only his release but also his acquittal, that justice be done,” stresses our interviewee.

The press and the journalistic rigour

Emmanuelle Steels, correspondent in Mexico for the newspaper Libération, has studied the Vallarta-Cassez case file since 2009 and said to NRW that it is a political, legal and media setup and whenever an inconsistency, a contradiction, a resolution, was about to come to light or the visit of the then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy was about to take place, a member of the Vallarta family would be arrested. Then, to cover the first setup, a second, a third, a fourth and a fifth one would be staged.

Journalist said that the gang of Los Zodiaco does not exist, that it is a fabrication, a setup and in his most recent book El Affaire Cassez, he documents step by step, in detail, not only the setup, but he also determines responsibilities and motives.

Reveles also makes a list of various characters of the political life that were unjustly imprisoned. They all are now free because their innocence was proven. Reveles claims that Mexico is a large factory of manufactured guilty parties and that in the justice system corruption reigns.

The Vallarta family demands that judges and lawyers study the file, that they follow procedures, and that they do justice.