Former Spanish soccer chief Rubiales appears before court in sexual harassment trial

Madrid, Sep 15 (EFE).- The Spanish prosecutor’s office on Friday asked the judge investigating the complaint of sexual assault against former president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) Luis Rubiales to bar him from coming within 500 meters of national soccer player Jenni Hermoso or communicating with her by any means during the investigation.

According to public prosecution sources, the prosecution also asked that Rubiales appear every fifteen days before the judge, who must now decide on these requests.

Rubiales on Friday testified for an hour and answered the questions of the High Court judge, Francisco de Jorge, and the lawyers, and denied the charges against him: of coercion and lack of consent while kissing Hermoso, according to the sources.

Jenni Hermoso’s lawyer, Carla Vall, also requested precautionary measures while insisting the kiss was “non-consensual.”

“Everyone saw the images, the entire country saw them. And we can say precisely that (…) there was a complete lack of consent,” she told the journalists gathered outside the court.

Vall, who appreciated the media attention, said that Hermoso is “affected” by what happened, “by the humiliating act that she suffered in the stadium and tarnished a sporting milestone, such a great victory.”

The Government delegate against gender violence, Victoria Rosell, said that the fact that the Prosecutor’s Office requested precautionary measures against Rubiales was “comforting.”

“It is important due to the alleged aggression and coercion (Hermoso suffered),” she said.

Rubiales arrived at the High Court in Madrid 45 minutes before the hearing, accompanied by his lawyer Olga Tubau.

At the court entrance, the former soccer chief did not speak to the press and opened the door to his lawyer in front of the dozens of journalists gathered, amid intense media spotlight on the trial.

Rubiales has been in the eye of a storm since he forcibly kissed Hermoso during the women’s soccer team’s world cup victory celebrations in Australia on Aug. 20.

The issue became a rallying point for women’s rights, especially systematic abuse and mistreatment in sports, after the soccer chief initially refused to apologize and was suspended only after widespread public condemnation. EFE


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