Finnish police hold six Cuban athletes over rape allegations | News | DW | 04.07.2016
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Finnish police hold six Cuban athletes over rape allegations

Finnish police have released two Cuban athletes but are holding six others over a suspected rape case. The eight men were detained over the weekend in Tampere after they were suspected of aggravated rape.

The Finnish authorities will request a regional court on Tuesday to order the remand for the six athletes. The police want the unnamed Cuban volleyball players to remain in custody to continue the investigation.

"We have made considerable progress in our investigation and have various pieces of evidence and relevant factors that support our suspicions," said Joni Lansipuro, the Central Finland Police Department officer in charge of the investigation.

"The police have six players under arrest at the moment. Two players… have been released and they are no longer suspected of this crime," the police said in a statement.

The eight men were detained over the weekend in Tampere - roughly 180 kilometers (110 miles) north of Helsinki - after local police received a report Saturday that a woman had been raped at a hotel in the city.

The Cuban team was in Tampere participating in a Volleyball World League tournament where they lost 3-1 to Finland. The three detained players did not take part in the game.

The Cuban athletes were scheduled to leave the country Monday morning but it is not immediately clear if they had departed.

'Zero tolerance'

The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) said Monday it was "very concerned" by the rape allegations.

"The FIVB has absolute zero tolerance of any offence committed against another person by any player or official at an FIVB event," the statement said.

"Whilst the FIVB adheres to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, we expect all participants now to respect the due process and ultimate decision of the local and national authorities."

The Cuban team representatives have not formally responded to the allegations.

shs/kms (AP, AFP)

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