Football superstar Neymar undergoes questioning by Brazil police, denies rape claim

Brazilian football player Neymar arrives on crutches at the Women's Defense Precinct in Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 13, 2019 to testify after Brazilian Najila Trindade filed a complaint against him on May 31, saying he sexually assaulted her after inviting her to visit him in Paris. (AFP / ARI FERREIRA)
Updated 14 June 2019

Football superstar Neymar undergoes questioning by Brazil police, denies rape claim

  • Accuser claims Neymar raped her last month at a Paris hotel, but she opted to file the complaint in Sao Paulo
  • Neymar is being investigated separately in Rio de Janeiro for publishing images of his accuser on social media without her authorization

SAO PAULO: Brazilian soccer star Neymar spent about five hours at a police station Thursday to undergo questioning about rape allegations against him.
Prosecutor Flavia Merlini told journalists that the player “denies the accusations and responded (to questions) in a satisfactory way.”
The woman who has accused him of raping her at a Paris hotel last month already spoke with police in Sao Paulo, which is where she filed her complaint.
Neymar was accompanied by his lawyers to the meeting Thursday.
“He answered all the questions,” Merlini said. “From now on the investigator will take other necessary measures until the conclusion of the probe. Since the probe is secret, we cannot tell about those measures.”
Just before departing in the evening, Neymar said, “The truth appears, sooner or later.” He also thanked fans for their support.
Wearing a black suit, the player was using crutches because of an injured right ankle when he arrived at the station at midafternoon. Investigator Juliana Bussacos met him at the entrance amid a media frenzy while a crowd of nearly 200 fans cheered the 27-year-old Neymar, who is Brazil’s most recognizable player.
The player is being investigated separately in Rio de Janeiro for publishing images of his accuser on social media without her authorization.
The Associated Press doesn’t name alleged sexual assault victims unless they make their identities public, which 26-year-old model Najila Trindade did in interviews with Brazilian television.
Also Thursday, Trindade reported that she had picked her fourth lawyer to handle the case. The previous three decided to leave the case.
Neymar’s jet flew into Sao Paulo’s Congonhas airport and he was driven to the police station in a black van. The player came from his mansion in the city of Mangaratiba, outside Rio de Janeiro.


Anti-government protesters block roads in Pakistan as unrest mounts

Updated 14 November 2019

Anti-government protesters block roads in Pakistan as unrest mounts

  • Tens of thousands of demonstrators joined a sit-in in Islamabad on Oct. 31 and camped there for about two weeks
  • Firebrand cleric leading the protests called for nationwide demonstrations

ISLAMABAD: Anti-government protesters in Pakistan blocked major roads and highways across the country on Thursday in a bid to force Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign.
The demonstrators — led by the leader of opposition party Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), the firebrand cleric Maulana Fazlur Rehman — have taken to the streets as the start of their “Plan B” to topple the government and ensure a general election after failing to push Khan out through a fortnight-long sit-in in Islamabad, which ended on Wednesday.
That same day, Rehman told his party workers to spread their protests to other parts of the country.
“This protest will continue not for a day but for a month, if our leadership instructs,” said JUI-F Secretary-General, Maulana Nasir Mehmood, to a group of protesters who blocked the country’s main Karakoram Highway — an important trade route between Pakistan and China that also connects the country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province with its northern areas.
The JUI-F protesters also blocked other key routes in KP and a major highway connecting the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan. The party’s Balochistan chapter also announced its intention to block the highway connecting Pakistan to neighboring Iran.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators joined the sit-in in Islamabad on Oct. 31 and camped there for about two weeks, demanding the prime minister’s resignation and fresh polls in the country following allegations of electoral fraud last year and the mismanagement of Pakistan’s economy. The government denies both charges.
Rehman is a veteran politician who was a member of the National Assembly for 20 years. He enjoys support in religious circles across the country. His party has yet to share a detailed plan regarding which roads will be closed when, or how long this new phase of protests will continue.
The JUI-F and other opposition parties have been trying to capitalize on the anger and frustration of the public against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ruling party, which came to power last year promising 10 million new jobs for the youth, 5 million low-cost houses, and economic reforms to benefit the middle class.
Since then, Pakistan’s economy has nosedived, witnessing double-digit inflation and rampant unemployment. The government signed a $6-billion bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund to stave off a balance-of-payments crisis.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has stabilized the deteriorating economy, and Maulana Fazlur Rehman ‘Plan B’ will fail like his ‘Plan A,’” Firdous Ashiq Awan, special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting, said in a statement to the press.

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