In Marseille, the trial of the torturers of a young drug dealer leaves a taste of unfinished business

The trial will have been for the jurors “a big leap into one of these lawless zones where minors from all over France come to work in Marseille, attracted by the mirage of easy money”, estimated the Advocate General. But before the Assize Court of Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône), a week of hearing ultimately only left the door of the Félix-Pyat city, one of the most poorest in France, where the drug network locks the entrances to buildings and muzzles speech.

In this hotbed of drug trafficking, still today at the heart of territorial wars, Mathieu – the first name has been changed –, a 16-year-old teenager, suffered terrible abuse one night in August 2019, for the sole reason that he had come to sell a few grams of cannabis and cocaine on his behalf, without the authorization of the leaders of the network.

The four accused, sentenced Friday September 15, to sentences ranging from five years to twenty-five years in prison, all grew up in Félix-Pyat where, according to the prosecution, “they became familiar with violence”. Faced with the jurors, three of them denied the kicking, punching and kidnapping.

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For Mathieu, it was a “journey to the end of hell”summarized his lawyer Me Xavier Torré, who came from Chartres like his young client, tossed around since the age of 2 between homes and foster families in Eure-et-Loir. Sequestered in an abandoned association premises, tied up to the point that a month later an expert would still find traces of his wrist ties, Mathieu was burned around forty times with a cigarette and with a blowtorch or a can of flaming lacquer on his body. the genitals. Burned on 5% of his body surface. On a scale of 5, an expert rated the suffering endured as high as the young boy tried to choke with the gag his torturers had forced into his mouth.

“There are more serious things in life, that’s not my problem. Castellane style [une cité où est installé un autre supermarché de la drogue], it would have been worse”, replied El Kabir M’Saidie Ali, 24, to investigators who showed him photos of Mathieu’s injuries. Despite fierce denials, this boy with a long criminal record was sentenced to twenty-five years of imprisonment for kidnapping with acts of torture and barbarity.

Lynching and omerta

“We grew up around this kind of thing, news stories like that, it’s shocking but I’m in my bubble. If we have empathy for everything that happens, we don’t move forward.”, he added, softening his speech to the jurors. His lawyers Mare Tiphaine Rémy and Romain Dinparast explained that“At Félix-Pyat, you have to build a shell for yourself and not be interested in others. It’s a survival instinct.”. Mathieu, blindfolded during the torture, had formally identified the voice of El Kabir M’Saidie Ali, during a vocal taping, organized by the police. “He faltered when he heard it”reported the director of investigation.

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