Robinho must serve rape sentence in Brazil, court rules

The majority of judges on a Brazilian court ruled on Wednesday to uphold an Italian court’s rape conviction for former AC Milan and Brazil striker Robinho, adding he must serve the nine-year prison sentence in Brazil.

Judges on Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice voted 9-2 to validate the conviction of the former Real Madrid, Manchester City and striker.

The 40-year-old Robinho was sentenced in Italy to nine years in prison for his part in a group sexual assault in 2013 when he played for AC Milan.

Brazil doesn’t extradite nationals, which led Italy to seek his imprisonment in his home nation.

One of the elements decided by Brazil’s superior court of justice — a 15-judge panel in the capital Brasilia — is whether Robinho fits into the South American nation’s immigration law approved in 2017.

Robinho’s lawyer José Eduardo Rangel de Alckim said he will appeal the decsion to the Brazil’s Supreme Court and he will ask for the player to stay out of prison during the appeal process.

“Robinho is available and willing to appear anytime before the judges. If an officer gets there, he will comply. He will not oppose,” Alckim said.

“Our first concern is to suspend the immediate arrest order. We will ask for the sentence to be executed after the appeal decision has been made.”

The first judge to vote, Francisco Falcão, said Robinho should serve his sentence in Brazil. He added that the former player cannot go unpunished and that diplomatic friction between Brazil and Italy could emerge if the sentence is not served.

“There’s no obstacle to validate the execution of his sentence. It was confirmed by a court in Milan, which is the competent authority in this case,” Falcão said. “The conviction is final. The defendant was not put on trial in absence in Italy, he had representation.”

Robinho lives in Santos, outside Sao Paulo. He relinquished his passport to Brazilian authorities in March 2023. He continues to deny any wrongdoing and insists his sexual relations with the woman at a Milan bar were consensual.

Lawyer Jacopo Gnocchi, who represented the victim, said he and his client were satisfied by the Brazil court’s ruling

“We believe that this is the fair conclusion of a case that took place in Italy, with assurances for all the defendants who were then found guilty,” Gnocchi told Brazilian news website UOL.

“We respected and we understood that the Brazilian Constitution does not allow the extradition (of its own citizens), but that does not change the fact that when the sentence is final it is fair… that the sentence is applied.”

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this story.