Accusations point to Uriarte as the trigger for this scandalous event in Finland.
By Eric Reynoso (Café Fuerte)
HAVANA TIMES — Cuban sports authorities said this week that the five volleyball players who have been sent to prison by a court in Finland could appeal their sentences, and they’ve mentioned the crime that led to this case by its name for the first time.
After the sentence was made known at a court in Pinkanmaa, handing out sentences between three and five years in prison to the five players, the Cuban Volleyball Federation (FCV) issued a statement that identified the crime committed as “aggravated rape against an adult Finnish citizen.” Up until now, the arrest and prosecution of these volleyball players had been explained as an “indiscipline” in FCV statements and reports made by Cuban government media.
The statement points out the fact that the punishment given to these athletes could be appealed, although the process involved hasn’t been specified nor whether the players are considering it or not.
The FCV has also said that the Cuban Embassy in Finland has provided consular support to the five punished the entire time and has pointed out that Ariel Sainz Rodriguez, president of the FCV, has remained in this Nordic country and has been in constant contact with the Cuban diplomatic network, the accused and their lawyers.
“Both the Cuban Volleyball Federation and INDER have maintained systemic communication with the athletes families,” the statement added.
Details about the crime
The accused men who were sentenced Monday to five years in prison were the team captain, Rolando Cepeda Abreu, 27 years old; Alfonso Gavilan, 21; Osmany Uriarte Mestre, 21; and Ricardo Calvo Manzano, 19. Luis Sosa Sierra, 21, received a sentence of three and a half years.
Details that appeared in the Finnish press with regard to the crime, which took place on July 2nd at a hotel in the city of Tampere, indicate that the court had heard that two of the players had met the woman in a night club in the hotel’s basement, and then the woman went up to Uriarte Mestre’s room and had sexual intercourse with him.
However, the investigation has revealed that Uriarte Mestre sent text messages to his other teammates, without the woman’s consent, who then entered the room and took advantage of her. The victim left the room after an hour, complained to a hotel receptionist and called the police to file a report.
During the court case, the volleyball players involved had denied the accusation and insisted that the woman had consented.
The following is the FCV’s statement in whole:
INFORMATION FROM THE CUBAN VOLLEYBALL FEDERATION
As was scheduled for today, September 20th, the Pinkanmaa Court sentence in Finland was made public, following the oral hearing that took place behind closed doors, and which ended on August 31st, because of the crime of aggravated rape against an adult Finnish citizen.
Abraham Alfonso Gavilan, Ricardo Norberto Calvo Manzano, Rolando Cepeda Abreu and Osmani Santiago Uriarte Mestre were sentenced to five years in prison.
Luis Sosa Tomas Sierra was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
The Court also ruled that they will have to pay 24,000 euros in compensation to the plaintiff.
Dariel Albo Miranda, who was absolved, was released before the hearing and returned to Cuba.
The Cuban Embassy in Finland has provided consular support to the five defendants the whole time that they’ve been in this country. Furthermore, Ariel Sainz Rodriguez, president of the Cuban Volleyball Federation has remained in Finland and has been in constant contact with the Embassy, the accused and their lawyers.
Both the Cuban Volleyball Federation and INDER have maintained systemic communication with the athletes families.
The punishment imposed can be appealed by those who have been sentenced.