Cuba vol­ley­ball play­ers jailed for rape in Fin­land

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

FIVE mem­bers of Cuba’s na­tional vol­ley­ball team have been con­victed of rap­ing a Fin­nish woman dur­ing a World League tour­na­ment in Tam­pere.

Four of the men, in­clud­ing the cap­tain, were given five-year jail sen­tences while a fifth is fac­ing a prison term of three and a half years.

They were de­tained in the south­ern Fin­nish city on 2 July af­ter a woman said she had been raped at a ho­tel.

Eight men were orig­i­nally held. Two were re­leased soon after­wards.

An­other of the play­ers was re­leased from de­ten­tion at the end of Au­gust and ac­quit­ted by the court in Tam­pere.

e men given the longer sen­tences in­cluded 27-year-old cap­tain Rolando Cepeda Abreu, Al­fonso Gav­i­lan, 21, Ri­cardo Calvo Man­zano, 19, and Os­many Uri­arte Mestre, who is also 21. Luis Sosa Sierra, 21, was given a shorter sen­tence.

The team had been tak­ing part in a tour­na­ment ahead of the Rio Olympics when the rape took place at the ho­tel in which the play­ers were stay­ing.

The court heard that two of the play­ers had met the woman in a night­club in the ho­tel base­ment. She later went to the room of one of the men, Uri­arte Mestre, and con­sented to sex.

How­ever, Uri­arte Mestre was then said to have texted the other men with­out the woman’s knowl­edge. They en­tered the room and sub­jected the woman to a lengthy or­deal and held her by the hair to pre­vent her leav­ing.

When she was even­tu­ally al­lowed to leave, she com­plained to the ho­tel re­cep­tion­ist who called po­lice.

The men had de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tion, in­sist­ing the woman had given con­sent.

How­ever, the court ruled they were guilty of ag­gra­vated rape and or­dered the men to pay €24,000 (£20,500; $27,000) in com­pen­sa­tion to the vic­tim.

As the al­le­ga­tions emerged, two of the team coaches were sacked.

De­spite its de­pleted squad, Cuba fielded a team in Rio and lost all five of its matches.

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