Paintings by French women imprisoned in Mexico on show in Paris

Florence Cassez, Reuters

Paintings by imprisoned French woman Florence Cassez are currently on show in the town hall of Paris’ 10th district. Cassez was arrested in Mexico and sentenced to 60 years for her alleged role in a kidnapping although she maintains her innocence.

There have been numerous appeals for her release, including a high profile bid by French President Nicolas Sarkozy who has called for Cassez to be returned to France. Authorities in Mexico have however rejected the call after the French were unable to guarantee that she would serve the full term. The maximum prison sentence in France is only 20 years.

Cassez was arrested in 2005 with her former boyfriend Israel Vallarta who belonged to the notorious abduction ring Les Zodiacs and has confessed to holding three victims captive. He states that Cassez had nothing to do with the kidnappings.

So far, the case has been littered with irregularities with police having being accused of re-enacting a high profile raid on the compound for the benefit of television cameras. Authorities have since admitted that the raid was false, but say they were doing the media a favour after it requested to run pictures.

Mexico has been plagued in recent years by a series of kidnapping that very often go unsolved. The government has since pledged a zero-tolerance policy.

The series of 40 paintings on show in the town hall in Paris are a selection of works brought back from visiting friends and family. They form a body of work that started when she joined a painting group within the prison.

One of the paintings on show is a blurry view of mauve and green coloured hills obscured by the bars of her prison windows. Others are a reflection of her home in Northern France or portraits of other inmates.

They will be on show until the 7 May.

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