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Robinho arrested in Brazil to serve rape sentence

Robinho arrested in Brazil to serve rape sentence
epa11235370 A police vehicle used to transport former soccer player Robson de Souza 'Robinho' after he was arrested at one of his residences in the beachfront city of Santos, in Sao Paulo Brazil, 21 March 2024. The Federal Justice of Brazil issued a prison order against de Souza after losing his bid to remain free pending appeals. de Souza will begin serving the nine-year prison sentence that was imposed on him for rape, official sources reported. EPA-EFE/Guilherme Dionizio

(Reuters) - Former soccer player Robinho was arrested by Brazilian federal police on Thursday to serve out a nine-year prison sentence for rape after a court decision this week authorized the transfer of the sentence from Italy.

In a statement, police said Robinho will undergo a medical examination and a custody hearing before being sent to prison.

A Milan court in 2017 found Robinho and five other Brazilians guilty of gang raping a 22-year-old Albanian woman after getting her drunk in a nightclub in 2013. The conviction was confirmed by an appeals court in 2020 and validated by Italy’s Supreme Court in 2022.

On Wednesday, Brazil’s top court for non-constitutional matters upheld Robinho’s rape conviction, determining he had to serve his nine-year prison sentence in Brazil.

The Brazilian court did not reopen discussions about the rape conviction, focusing only on whether the sentence in Italy was valid in Brazil.

The 40-year-old Robinho, whose full name is Robson de Souza, now resides in his native Brazil and has always denied the charges.

Robinho had previously played for clubs including Santos, Real Madrid, Manchester City, AC Milan, as well for Brazil’s national team.

Apart from rare exceptions, Brazil does not extradite its citizens, so Italy requested last year that Robinho serve the prison sentence in his home country.

His arrest occurred after judge Luiz Fux rejected an appeal earlier on Thursday by Robinho’s legal team to the decision from the day before, upholding the order for his immediate arrest, a legal document showed.

Fux wrote in his decision that he did not see any violation of constitutional or legal rules or international treaties in Wednesday’s ruling, which had been made by another court.

In an interview broadcast on Sunday by a local TV station, Robinho said he “was unfairly convicted in Italy for something that did not occur.”

(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu in Brasilia; additional reporting by Ricardo Brito in Brasilia and Andre Romani in Sao Paulo; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Stephen Coates)

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