Europe 1 with AFP / Photo credit: LUDOVIC MARIN / POOL / AFP 16:29 p.m., September 08, 2023, modified at 16:29 p.m., September 08, 2023

In August 2019, a young drug dealer was lynched by four men in a Marseille estate. The teenager had been kidnapped and tortured overnight, burned on parts of his body with a blowtorch. The trial of his captors opened this Friday in Aix-en-Provence.

The teenager had been kidnapped and tortured overnight, burned on parts of his body with a blowtorch. The trial of four men tried for the lynching of a young drug dealer in August 2019 in a Marseille city opened Friday in Aix-en-Provence. The victim, Mathieu - the first name is changed - who was 16 years old at the time of the facts, said through his lawyer hope that his example can "serve others to avoid the same story". He was not present at the hearing.

"He never got over the ordeal ... For me, his life stopped at the day of the facts (...) the more time progresses, and the more I see that he closes himself. We are at a stage where he no longer leaves his home, "lamented the lawyer, Xavier Torre.

Recruited as a "charcoaler"

In August 2019, Mathieu had left the home of the Child Social Assistance where he had been placed for a few months in Chartres (Eure-et-Loir). He dreamed of earning 500 euros a day by coming to dealer in Marseille. Upon his arrival in the city of Micocouliers, he was recruited on August 9 as a "charcoaler" (drug seller). The police arrested him just after taking office, but the teenager managed to hide under a tree 15 grams of cocaine and 10 bars of shit. Brought before a juvenile judge, he was placed in a home pending his return to Chartres, accompanied by an educator.

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He runs away, recovers the hidden drugs and, on August 12, tries to sell it at the foot of the A6 building of the Félix-Pyat city, but without the authorization of the officials of this high place of trafficking in Marseille. Denounced by a lookout, he was immediately surrounded and beaten with his fists and iron bars and then taken to a disused associative premises. Mathieu is then completely naked, tied to a chair with electric cable, beaten and burned forty times with a cigarette: "In the cellar, there were many people, they hit me, they made me snort coke," he says.

In the middle of the night, while he is blindfolded, two "grown-ups" tell him that he is going to die. "They burned my genitals. (...) I was screaming in pain."

"You're going to die"

Of the four young men tried, three said at the beginning of the trial that they were innocent. The fourth, appearing free, said: "I recognize the blows outside the room, but I have nothing to do with what happened next, I was not in the room." During the study of their personalities, the four men recounted difficult periods of childhood, situations of dropping out of school. "In the meantime, I have matured, I have projects," promised one of them, explaining that he wanted to become a crane operator when he was released from detention.

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In November 2022, one of Mathieu's torturers, tried by the juvenile assize court, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for kidnapping and kidnapping accompanied by torture and barbaric acts. Mathieu had identified him as the one who had forced him to take cocaine. Removing those who had been only the spectators-voyeurs of his lynching, he designated the four accused in this trial as his violent jailers. Blindfolded during the burns, the teenager recognized, during a confrontation, the voice of the one who was preying: "You are going to die, you are tough (...), you broke my blowtorch". All face life imprisonment.

Unbeknownst to the organizers of the lynching, "little ones" had given Mathieu food and clothes after this night of torture and two "grown-ups" had taken him to the hospital. In Marseille, the "jobbers", these young people from another region that the mirage of easy money attracts in the second city of France for odd jobs of lookout or seller on the points of deal are often caught in a spiral of violence and subject to the influence of traffickers, who also reign fear among the inhabitants of these cities. The verdict is expected on 15 September.