Hearing in case of teen brothers jailed in Mexico rescheduled for today

By The Star Staff

A hearing in the trial of two Puerto Rican teenage brothers accused of sexual assault of a 17-year-old near Cancún, Mexico is slated for today after it was postponed last Friday because of a backlog of cases in the Mexican court, according to a report by the news outlet Telemundo.

“Although it was expected that the hearing of the young people would take place on Friday or this Saturday, August 7, it was again postponed due to the alleged logjam of cases. The hearing was to take place on Monday [today],” Luis Zapata, the father of brothers Luis and Eric Zapata, aged 18 and 19, respectively, told Telemundo. “This will be a follow-up hearing to demonstrate the evidence we have and what the prosecutor’s office has. There, if the judge declares that the evidence is lacking, then they dismiss the charges. … So far that is the expectation.”

The brothers have been in a Mexico jail since June 28. The Caguas family’s vacation turned into a nightmare when the young men were arrested at their hotel after a 17-year-old girl accused them of rape.

The charges were later reduced to sexual aggression after officials could not find evidence of rape.

The girl, according to the Mexican newspaper La Verdad, contends she was walking on the beach with a group of friends but was left behind. While she was walking alone, she claimed, two young men took her by force to an isolated area and raped her. The girl accused the brothers of being her assailants.

The brothers’ parents have remained in Mexico at considerable expense, working with a legal team on their sons’ defense and visiting them in jail.

Through tears, the mother of the brothers told Telenoticias last week that she is worried about her sons’ physical condition.

The brothers’ lawyer has claimed to have exculpatory evidence, stating that both the victim and the witnesses have offered inconsistent versions of events. The defense has also charged that the brothers were processed in an irregular fashion.

The U.S. consulate reportedly was not informed about the arrests either, the brothers’ father said.

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