HAVANA, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Five Cuban volleyball players, convicted for the rape of a woman in the Finnish city of Tampere, have appealed the sentence, the country's volleyball federation announced on Friday.
"They have submitted an appeal to the prosecutor and the victim, who have 30 days to provide their evidence," said Ariel Sainz, president of the federation, in remarks published by the official daily Granma.
On Sept. 20, a judge handed down a guilty verdict against the five players for the aggravated rape of a Finnish citizen, after a close-door trial that ended on Aug. 31.
Four of the defendants were sentenced to a term of five years in prison, and the fifth to three and a half years. They were also condemned to pay a compensation of 24,000 euros to the victim.
The players denied all the charges and stated that they had sex with the woman consensually.
"Expectations are that the new ruling will occur between January and March 2017," said Sainz, adding that he had been in contact with the players and their attorneys.
The incident represented a serious reverse for the Cuban team. It was forced to replace half of its members a month before the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where it finished in a disappointing 11th place.