Ex-footballer Robinho will have to serve his 9-year prison sentence for rape in Brazil

By a large majority of nine votes out of eleven, the magistrates of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) of Brasilia decided that Robson de Souza, known as Robinho, could be imprisoned in his native country.

According to lawyers, Robinho, 40, should not be imprisoned immediately, other appeals being possible, notably before the Brazilian Supreme Court.

Dani Alves convicted of rape: ex-Barça star receives heavy sentence

The ex-striker, who played for AC Milan at the time of the facts, had already returned to Brazil when he was sentenced to nine years in prison by the Italian courts in 2017, a sentence confirmed by the Court of Cassation in January 2022 The Constitution of Brazil does not allow the extradition of its nationals, Italy demanded in February 2023 that he serve his sentence in his native country, which is possible since the entry into force of a Brazilian law dating back from 2017.

If this request was not accepted, “the Brazilian state would allow impunity in the face of a crime recognized by a foreign state,” declared the first judge to vote, Francisco Falcao.

The STJ magistrates did not judge the merits of the case, but only assessed whether the request from Italian justice was admissible from a legal point of view.

Robinho's lawyer, José Eduardo Alckmin, had demanded at the start of the session that a new trial on the merits take place in Brazil, as it is “the right, the individual guarantee of every Brazilian citizen”.

Absent on Wednesday, the former Brazilian international with a hundred caps was found guilty in Italy of gang rape of a young Albanian woman who was celebrating her 23rd birthday in a Milanese nightclub. According to the indictment, Robinho and five other Brazilians made their victim drink “to the point of leaving her unconscious and unable to defend herself” and then had “sexual intercourse several times in a row” with her.

The ex-striker has always proclaimed his innocence, as he did once again on Sunday, attributing his conviction to “racism”.

“It was consensual. I never denied (having had relations with the victim, editor’s note). I could have denied it because my DNA was not found, but I am not a liar,” said he said during an interview with the Brazilian channel TV Record.

“I played four years in Italy and I saw lots of stories of racism (…). The people who condemned me are the same people who do nothing against racism,” he said. he throws.

Last week, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said he was in favor of Robinho serving his sentence in his country, to “pay the price for his irresponsibility”. Rape is an “unforgivable” crime, he stressed.

Trained at Santos, the club of “King Pelé”, Robinho played in major European clubs, such as Real Madrid, Manchester City or AC Milan, but his career never reached the heights that seemed promised to him.

In 2020, he attempted a final comeback at Santos, but his contract was terminated under pressure from fans and sponsors due to his rape conviction, effectively ending his career.

Robinho's fate was decided the day when another former Brazilian international, the former FC Barcelona and Paris SG full-back Daniel Alves, saw his request for release on bail accepted by the Spanish justice system, after a sentenced last month to four and a half years in prison for rape at first instance.

He will thus be able to leave prison while awaiting his appeal judgment, upon payment of one million euros, “a scandal” for the plaintiff's lawyer, who denounced “justice for the rich”.

The Alves affair had a huge echo around the world, but did not provoke the slightest reaction from the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), clubs or former teammates who worked with him within the Selecao.

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