September 20, 2016 / 8:42 AM / 3 years ago

Cuba volleyball players found guilty of aggravated rape in Finland

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Five volleyball players from the Cuban national team were found guilty on Tuesday of aggravated rape of a woman while they were in Finland in July for a World League tournament prior to the Rio Olympics.

The Finnish district court charged six men with the crime, which took place at the hotel where the team was staying in the city of Tampere. One was found not guilty.

The court sentenced four of the men to five years in prison, and the fifth to three and a half years.

All the men denied the charge, either disputing any sexual intercourse with the woman, or by saying it had happened by mutual understanding.

The players, aged between 19 and 27, had asked for mitigated punishments, arguing they had lost contracts due to the publicity of the case. The court denied that request.

“The defendants are found guilty of a serious sexual crime during a match tour... Considering the crime in question, losing player contracts has been a foreseeable consequence,” the court said.

The Cuban Volleyball Federation was not immediately available for a comment. It condemned the players’ acts in July.

The Cuban team decided to compete in the Rio Olympics despite the detention of the players, but lost all their five games.

Reporting by Tuomas Forsell and Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Jermey Gaunt

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