The Boca Juniors footballer is sentenced to 2 years and a month in prison for gender-based violence

(Spanish CNN) — El futbolista Sebastian Villa fue condenado este viernes a dos años y un mes de prisión por violence de género, según difundió en la lectura pública de la sentencia expedida por el juzgado en lo Correccional N°2 de Lomas de Zamora, en la provincia de Buenos Aires.

The Colombian Boca Juniors player had been denounced by his ex-girlfriend Daniela Cortés, in 2020. According to the Argentine penal code, the sentence is releasable, so the player will not go to prison.

According to Judge Claudia Davalos’ ruling, Villa was convicted “for the crimes of coercive threats and minor injuries qualified by the nexus mediating gender-based violence.”

In addition to the prison sentence, the footballer, who played this Thursday the entire match that Boca Juniors lost against Arsenal de Sarandí for the Argentine championship, must, for the duration of the sentence, “fix domicile and submit in the care of a Council”; “refrain from going to certain places or conversing with certain
people”; and “refrain from using narcotics and abusing alcoholic beverages”.

Villa, 27, was charged with gender-based violence on the charge of “minor injuries aggravated by connection and mediation of gender-based violence, with coercive threats”. The prosecution had requested a sentence of two years and three months for Sebastián Villa, while his defense requested an acquittal.

The chronology of the case against Sebastián Villa

Daniela Cortés filed a complaint against Villa on April 27, 2020, while she was still in a relationship with the player. The woman claimed to have been beaten and described her partner as “an aggressor, both physically and psychologically”.

Earlier, Cortés posted photos showing his face with injuries he said were caused by the footballer.

At that time, Villa’s response was a complaint against his girlfriend for alleged threats and asking her for money in exchange for not harming her career, according to a court document seen by CNN.

The case against the player was described as minor injuries and threats aggravated by the context of gender-based violence and the connection. The investigation passed under the orbit of Esteban Echeverría’s Decentralized Functional Instruction Unit (UFI) 3, which specializes in gender violence.

The player and his lawyer, Martín Apolo, have always rejected Cortés’ accusations and asked for an acquittal.

In May 2020, the judiciary determined that Villa could not leave the country while “the processing of the process”. However, as he was still part of the Boca Juniors squad, he was able to travel to Brazil to play a Copa Libertadores match in June 2022.

Boca Juniors’ Colombian striker Sebastián Villa gestures after missing a scoring chance against Belgrano during the 2023 Argentine Professional Football League Tournament match at La Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires on May 14, 2023. ( Photo by ALEJANDRO PAGNI/AFP via Getty Images)

The trial hearings began in April 2023, with the presence of the plaintiff by videoconference, since, in 2020 after ending her relationship with Villa, she returned to Colombia.

In this case, Cortés said that the player became violent while drinking alcohol and that this situation worsened during the covid-19 pandemic.

Villa participated in all hearings of the case. When it was his turn to appear on May 15, he pleaded not guilty. “I never committed the act,” he said. And he added that the woman was “always asking him for money”.

The defense lawyer insisted on “betting on the acquittal of Sebastián Villa because he did not commit any illegal conduct”.

Hugo Manu Correa contributed to this report

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