Hermoso gives testimony in Spain as judge decide whether to take Rubiales case to trial

January 3 – Spanish World Cup-winning star Jenni Hermoso told a judge on Tuesday that the kiss forced on her by disgraced former Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales was “at no point consensual” and that she had come under pressure to defend his actions.

The 33-year-old testified for 2.5 hours behind closed doors before judge Francisco de Jorge who is investigating Rubiales on allegations of sexual assault and coercion.

During the incident on August 20, the then head of Spain’s football federation (RFEF) held Hermoso’s head in both his hands and kissed her on the lips after Spain won the Women’s World Cup in Australia.

“At the end of her declaration, she ratified the statement made at the public prosecutor’s office that the kiss was completely unexpected and at no point was it consensual,” a judicial source told AFP.

Hermoso filed a lawsuit in September and apparently told the judge she had come under pressure to defend Rubiales’ actions.

“After the event, the situation experienced by the victim, both on the flight back to Spain and during her stay in Ibiza was one of constant harassment by the parties under investigation, which disrupted her normal life, causing her anxiety and distress,” the source added, quoting Hermoso’s testimony.

Under Spanish law, a non-consensual kiss can be considered sexual assault – a criminal category that groups all types of sexual violence. Penalties for such a kiss range from a fine to four years in prison.

Rubiales, who has long protested his innocence, was nevertheless banned by FIFA and forced to resign as RFEF president on September 10 amid heavy pressure having previously said the kiss was “spontaneous, mutual, euphoric and consensual”.

Hermoso told reporters as she left the court accompanied by her lawyer: “All is in the hands of justice, that’s all I can say… the process will take its course.”

The judge quizzed three others over allegations they also pressured Hermoso – former women’s coach Jorge Vilda, men’s team director Albert Luque and RFEF marketing boss Ruben River – before deciding whether to take the case to trial.

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