Cuban Volleyball Players Jailed in Finland After Rape Conviction

Five players from the Cuban national volleyball team have been jailed after being convicted of rape by a Finnish court on Tuesday. The court also ordered them to pay a total of £20,500 in compensation to the victim.

Four of the men, including the team captain, were sentenced to five years in prison, while a fifth man got three and a half years.

The district court of Pirkanmaa acquitted a sixth man, who had been held in police custody with the five others in the city of Tampere, 105 miles north of the capital, Helsinki. The trial was held behind closed doors.

The team had been taking part in a World League tournament before the Rio Olympics when the attack took place at the hotel where they were staying. The men had denied the charges, claiming they were innocent. It was not immediately clear if the five who were convicted would appeal. Some said they had sexual intercourse with the Finnish victim but denied rape.

Five-year sentences were given to Osmany Santiago Uriarte Mestre, 21, Ricardo Norberto Calvo Manzano, 19, Abrahan Alfonso Gavilan, 21, and Rolando Cepeda Abreu, 27. Luis Tomas Sosa Sierra, 21, got three and a half years.

Eight members of the team were initially arrested in early July but two were released without charge.

During the investigation, the Cuban Volleyball Association acknowledged the arrests, saying the investigation seemed to indicate acts by the players that were “totally removed from discipline, the sense of honour and respect that govern our sport and society”.


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