http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/cuban-volleyball-players-rape-sentences-cut-on-appeal/article/496506

Cuban volleyball players' rape sentences cut on appeal

Posted Jun 30, 2017 by AFP
A Finnish court of appeal on Friday cut the prison sentences of five Cuban volleyball players jailed for aggravated rape in the southwestern city of Turku. The five were convicted in September by another court in the southern city of Tampere.
Cuban volleyball player Luis Sosa Sierra pictured in a court in Tampere  Finland  in August 2016
Cuban volleyball player Luis Sosa Sierra pictured in a court in Tampere, Finland, in August 2016
Kalle Parkkinen, Lehtikuva/AFP/File

A Finnish court of appeal on Friday cut the prison sentences of five Cuban volleyball players jailed for aggravated rape in the southwestern city of Turku.

The five were convicted in September by another court in the southern city of Tampere. They denied the charges against them and immediately appealed.

Volleyball captain Rolando Cepeda Abreu and his teammates Abrahan Alfonso Gavilan, Ricardo Calvo Manzano and Osmany Uriarte Mestre were sentenced to five years in prison, while Luis Sosa Sierra was sentenced to three and a half years.

But the Turku Court of Appeal reduced Abreu's sentence to two and a half years, Manzano's to three and a half years, and Mestre's to four years.

Gavilan had his sentence reduced to one year and three months while Sierra was acquitted and released, the court said.

The athletes were arrested one day after the incident at a hotel in Tampere in July last year when Cuba competed in the World Volleyball League.

The victim, a young woman whose identity was not revealed, had met some of the men at a nightclub inside their hotel.

She went into Uriarte Mestre's room before they had sex, but did not consent to him inviting Calvo Manzano into the room and then the other players, who she said raped her.