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Cuba volleyball players jailed for rape in Finland

CubaVolleyball

BBC News

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.

The 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.

Cuba had been taking part in a Volleyball World League tournament in Tampere
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.
Lengthy ordeal
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.
The court in Tampere rejected the players’ evidence as partly contradictory
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.

Six Cuban volleyball players face rape trial in Finland

volleyball

RT News

Six Cuban volleyball players are standing trial in Finland accused of raping a woman in early July at a hotel in Tampere, where Cuba’s national team was staying at the time.

The alleged offense happened during the 2016 FIVB World Volleyball League, which takes place in various cities around the world. The Cuban team had played matches in Osaka and Bratislava before heading to Tampere, a city in southern Finland.

Eight men were originally arrested in connection with the incident but two were later released without charge.

Despite the players being detained in Finland, Cuba decided to enter its volleyball team into the Rio Olympics this summer but lost all five of its matches.

If the men are found guilty of the offense, they could face a maximum prison sentence of eight years.

This type of trial is rare in Finland with only 8 percent of cases in which the victim has been raped by a stranger leading to trial.

The trial will take place behind closed doors at the District Court of Pirkanmaa, and is expected to last three days.