Brazilian judge bars Robinho from leaving country pending sentence decision

BRASILIA, Brazil, (AFP) – A judge on Friday barred Robinho from leaving Brazil while he decides whether the footballer's nine-year rape sentence, handed down by an Italian court, can be served in the South American country.

Judge Francisco Falcao "prohibited the sportsman from leaving the country. He has to hand in his passport within five days," Brazil's Superior Court of Justice (STJ) said in a statement.

Falcao, a judge on the STJ, is analyzing an Italian request for the sentence against Robson de Souza to be served in his home country.

In his ruling Friday, Falcao cited the "gravity of the crime, the international repercussions of the case and the economic conditions of the player which could facilitate an eventual escape from Brazil."

Robinho was among a group of six men accused of gang raping an Albanian woman celebrating her 23rd birthday in a Milan nightclub in 2013 when he was playing for AC Milan.

A nine-year sentence for the former Selecao and Real Madrid player was upheld by Italy's top court, after which Italian prosecutors issued an international arrest warrant.

Brazil does not extradite its nationals, however, and Italy asked that Robinho be made to serve his sentence in his home country instead.

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