Prosecutors seek 4-year prison terms for people accused of hanging effigy of Vinícius off bridge
MADRID (AP) — Prosecutors are seeking four-year prison sentences for the four people accused of hanging an effigy of Real Madrid player Vinícius Júnior off a highway bridge in the beginning of the year, Madrid’s prosecutors’ office said Tuesday.
Prosecutors also want the four of them to pay a combined total of 6,000 euros ($6,490) in damages.
The effigy of Vinícius was hanged by the neck on the morning of a derby match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey on Jan. 26. Along with it was a banner with the words “Madrid hates Real.”
The perpetrators used a black figure with Vinícius’ name on it and hanged it from an overpass before dawn in the Spanish capital.
Prosecutors said the four people belong to a hardcore Atletico fan group that is “ideologically identified with the extreme right.” Some had prior bookings with police for other crimes.
The hate message on the banner is often used by Atletico’s hardcore fans, though at the time they denied being responsible for the display.
A judge had already prohibited the four people from attempting to communicate with Vinícius. There is a temporary restraining order banning them from a 1-kilometer (0.62-mile) area around Madrid’s stadium and training facilities and from coming within the same distance of any soccer stadium between four hours before and four hours after a Spanish league game.
In Spain, hate crimes are typically punished with one-to-four years of prison time, while crimes against a person’s moral integrity are punished with six-to-24 months behind bars.
The 23-year-old Vinícius, who is Black, has been subjected to repeated racist taunts since he arrived in Spain. Last season he received an outpouring of support after being racially abused in a Spanish league match in Valencia. The case prompted widespread reaction from sports figures and government officials in Spain and worldwide.
The arrests of the people accused of hanging the effigy of Vinícius came a few days after the player was racially abused in Valencia.
Spain’s anti-violence commission on Tuesday proposed a one-year ban from stadiums for each of the 41 members of radical fan groups who participated in a fight before a Spanish league game between Alaves and Real Betis in October. The commission also proposed a fine of 4,000 euros ($4,300) to each one of them.
The commission said the fighting left numerous people injured and caused damage to some local establishments.
Never miss a beat: Get our daily stories straight to your inbox with theGrio’s newsletter.