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Prosecutor demands two and a half years in prison for Spain’s ex-football boss Rubiales for kissing

MADRID: A prosecutor at Spain’s Supreme Court is seeking a two-and-a-half year prison sentence for former soccer federation chief Luis Rubiales over his unsolicited kiss on player Jenni Hermoso, according to a court document seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Marta Durantez charged Rubiales with one count of sexual assault and one count of coercion for his alleged actions after the kiss, crimes that carry prison sentences of one year and 18 months, respectively.

Rubiales, 46, grabbed Hermoso and kissed her on the lips on August 20 last year during the awards ceremony following Spain’s win at the Women’s World Cup in Sydney. This made headlines around the world and sparked a national debate about sexism in Spain.

Hermoso and her teammates said the kiss was unwanted and humiliating, but Rubiales argued it was consensual and denied any wrongdoing.

The prosecutor also accused former women’s national team coach Jorge Vilda, current Spanish Federation (RFEF) sports director Albert Luque and RFEF marketing chief Ruben Rivera of coercing Hermoso into saying the kiss was consensual been.

The indictment says the three officials harassed Hermoso by applying “constant and repeated pressure” directly to the player and through her friends and family. They also each face 18 months in prison.

All three denied wrongdoing during their court appearances.

Durantez also said Rubiales should pay 50,000 euros ($54,080) in damages to Hermoso, with another 50,000 euros to be paid jointly by Rubiales, Vilda, Luque and Rivera.

In addition, she requested an injunction banning Rubiales from coming within 200 meters of Hermoso and from communicating with her for the next seven and a half years.

If Rubiales is convicted and sentenced as prosecutors requested, he would not necessarily have to go to prison. The Spanish penal code allows judges to suspend prison sentences “exceptionally” if – as in this case – none of the individual sentences imposed exceeds two years.

Rubiales was named in a separate corruption investigation that rocked the RFEF last week when police raided the federation’s headquarters and an apartment belonging to Rubiales, arresting seven people.

A Spanish court has been investigating since June 2022 whether Rubiales committed a crime of improper leadership when the RFEF agreed with former Barcelona player Gerard Pique’s Kosmos company to move the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia, a judicial source said at the time Reuters with.

Rubiales, who was in the Dominican Republic during the searches last week, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and told El Espanol newspaper that he would cooperate with the investigation.

A court source said his lawyers told the judge he would return from the Dominican Republic on April 6.

($1 = 0.9246 euros)

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