Cuban volleyballers convicted of rape
Five members of Cuba’s national volleyball team were convicted today 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 July 2 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.
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.