Robinho’s defense appeals to avoid prison after transfer of rape sentence to Brazil

By Thomson Reuters Mar 21, 2024 | 8:31 AM

(Reuters) – The defense of former soccer player Robinho has filed a request to Brazil’s Supreme Court to avoid his immediate arrest after a different court ruled that he must serve in Brazil a nine-year prison sentence for rape.

In the request, the lawyers representing the former player for Santos, Manchester City, Real Madrid and AC Milan asked for an injunction to suspend Wednesday’s decision by the country’s top court for non-constitutional matters, that ruled that he must serve his sentence immediately.

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.

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

Robinho, whose full name is Robson de Souza, was free throughout the ratification process and “has never represented a risk to the application of national legislation, so his freedom is rigorous until the final ruling of the matter,” his lawyers said in his request.

The lawyers argued that the decision violates jurisprudence from the Supreme Court, which would only land him in jail after all possible appeals have been concluded, adding that making the former footballer serve his sentence in his home country “is in stark contradiction to the Constitution of the Republic.”

According to his defense, at the time of the crime, there was no Brazilian law for serving a sentence issued in other countries, and that the law could not be retroactively enforced on him.

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Writing by Peter Frontini; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)