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Former Footballer Robinho Begins Prison Sentence in Brazil

Former footballer Robinho arrives at Tremembe penitentiary to serve a nine-year sentence for rape, beginning with 10 days in solitary confinement. He faces high-profile imprisonment amid ongoing legal proceedings.

Former football star Robinho arrived at the rural Tremembe prison on Friday, March 22, to begin serving a nine-year sentence for rape. The 40-year-old will spend the initial 10 days in solitary confinement, a precautionary measure for newly arrived inmates convicted of sexual offenses, as confirmed by local authorities.

Under Brazilian criminal law, Robinho, like other convicts, may be eligible for a more flexible jail regime based on good behavior. He could be eligible for such privileges in 2027, when nearly half his sentence is expected to be served.

Located 150 kilometers (93 miles) northeast of Sao Paulo, Tremembe penitentiary houses approximately 430 inmates, categorized into full-time prisoners and those allowed day-release privileges. Cell sizes vary from eight to 15 square meters (86 to 160 square feet), accommodating up to six inmates in the largest cells. The facility offers amenities such as soccer pitches, an ecumenical room, and a library, with visitation permitted only on weekends.

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Robinho’s conviction stems from a 2013 incident in Italy, where he was found guilty of participating in a group sexual assault while playing for AC Milan. Italy sought Brazil’s cooperation in enforcing the sentence, as Robinho had returned to his home country by conviction in 2017. Although Brazil does not extradite its nationals, it recognizes convictions from foreign courts, allowing them to be served domestically.

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Robinho was imprisoned following a ruling by one of Brazil’s highest courts validating his Italian sentence. While awaiting an appeal before the Brazilian Supreme Court on grounds of national sovereignty, his lawyer expects a decision in April.

Tremembe Penitentiary has housed several high-profile inmates, including Alexandre Nardoni, convicted of killing his daughter, and serial rapist Roger Abdelmassih. Robinho, without handcuffs, was transported from his residence in Santos to the prison, where he spent his initial hours at the local federal police office.

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Despite maintaining his innocence and claiming consensual relations with the woman involved, Robinho faces the repercussions of his conviction. Meanwhile, before Brazil’s friendly against England, his former coach Dorival Júnior praised Robinho’s footballing abilities but emphasized the importance of addressing the victims’ voices and ensuring justice.

Robinho’s career, marked by success with Santos and stints in Europe, now faces a significant setback as he begins his prison term in Brazil.

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