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Brazilian judges have upheld the Italian court’s ruling that former AC Milan and Brazil striker Robinho must serve his nine-year prison sentence in Brazil. The trial in Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice confirmed Italy’s decision, which found Robinho and five other Brazilians guilty of gang-raping a woman in 2013. Despite denying the charges, Robinho will now have to face the consequences of the conviction in his home country. Brazil typically does not extradite its citizens, so Italy requested that Robinho serve his sentence in Brazil, leading to this decision by the Brazilian court.

Robinho’s lawyer argued for a retrial based on national sovereignty, but the majority of judges in the court ruled that Robinho should serve his sentence in Brazil. The first judge to vote stated that the former player cannot go unpunished, and there may be diplomatic friction between Brazil and Italy if the sentence is not served. Another judge disagreed, stating that Robinho should not be jailed in Brazil for a conviction in Italy, but ultimately, the court decided to uphold the ruling. Robinho, who lives in Santos, outside Sao Paulo, relinquished his passport to authorities in Brazil, and it will be up to local authorities to determine how and when he will be jailed.

During the court session, federal prosecutor Hindemburgo Chateaubriand highlighted some audio recordings obtained by Italian authorities in which Robinho discussed the case with friends. Brazilian media had previously published some of these recordings, including Robinho making vulgar statements, indicating violence towards the victim, and showing a lack of remorse. Despite this evidence, Robinho maintains that his sexual relations with the woman in Milan were consensual. In an interview, he attributed his conviction to racism, claiming that the same people who tolerated racism were the ones who sentenced him.

Robinho’s rise to fame as an 18-year-old leading Santos to its first national title in 2002 and becoming a prolific scorer in the Brazilian league in the following years has been overshadowed by this rape conviction. The court’s decision to uphold the Italian ruling and require Robinho to serve his sentence in Brazil signals a significant development in this case. While Robinho continues to deny any wrongdoing and blame racism for his conviction, the court’s ruling highlights the need for accountability regardless of a person’s status or fame. Ultimately, Robinho will have to face the consequences of his actions and serve his prison sentence in his home country.

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