Court rules Robinho must serve Italian gang rape sentence in Brazil

Court rules Robinho must serve Italian gang rape sentence in Brazil

Brasília: Former Manchester City and Real Madrid striker Robinho must serve a nine-year rape sentence — imposed on him by an Italian court — in Brazil, judges in Brasilia ruled Wednesday.

The court decided by nine votes to two in favor of an Italian request that Robinho be jailed in his home country after he was found guilty of taking part in the gang rape of an Albanian woman celebrating her 23rd birthday at a Milan nightclub in 2013.

It also ruled the sentence must begin “immediately.”

Lawyers, who earlier told AFP Robinho would likely remain free pending a possible appeal, said he could challenge this decision as well, and will likely do so on Thursday.

Robson de Souza, popularly known as “Robinho,“ was not present for Wednesday’s decision.

The former Brazil international, now 40, was convicted by an Italian court in 2017 for the crime committed four years earlier, when he was playing for AC Milan.

He lost in the Milan Court of Appeal in 2020 and then had his sentence upheld by Italy’s highest court in 2022, after which Italian prosecutors issued an international arrest warrant for him.

Brazil does not extradite its nationals, however, and Italy asked that Robinho be made to serve his sentence in his home country instead.

The footballer, who protests his innocence, told Brazilian network TV Record in an interview broadcast Sunday the sex had been “consensual.”

“I never denied it (the encounter). I could have denied it because my DNA was not there, but I’m not a liar.”

He also accused the Italian justice system of “racism.”

According to the complaint, Robinho and his co-accused had made the young woman drink “to the point of rendering her unconscious and unable to resist” and then had “sexual relations several times in a row” with her.

In March 2021, the Milan court published its reasoning for upholding the original conviction, saying Robinho had acted with “special contempt for the victim, who was brutally humiliated.”

Robinho’s case and that of former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain defender Dani Alves have sparked criticism over the failure of football authorities in Brazil to condemn violence against women.

In February, former Brazil international full-back Alves, 40, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for raping a woman in a nightclub in Barcelona.

On Wednesday, a court in Spain ruled he would be released from jail pending an appeal in a one-million-euro bail agreement denounced by the victim’s lawyer as “justice for the rich.”


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