A Paris St.-Germain women’s soccer player was released from police custody without charges on Thursday, one day after she was arrested as part of the investigation into a violent attack on one of her teammates by masked men wielding a metal bar.
Aminata Diallo was granted an extension of her custody on Wednesday night by a French prosecutor. She was also subject to additional questioning about Thursday’s incident in which Kheira Hamraoui, her teammate, was pulled from her car and beat on her way home from the team dinner last week.
Diallo was held in police custody for approximately 36 hours. The Versailles prosecutor’s office confirmed that an acquaintance of Diallo’s, a man in Lyon who had been in jail on unrelated charges, had been questioned and then released. The prosecutor’s office offered no further comment or details on the investigation, or why Diallo or the man was detained.
France is not unusual for police investigations to involve detention. However, in most cases, the prosecutor must either charge suspects or have them freed within 48 hours. Diallo was not charged with any crime and the police made no public comments about her involvement in the attack. If evidence is found, Diallo may be charged with a crime at a later time.
Diallo was arrested by police officers, who arrived at her residence around 6 a.m. Wednesday. They searched her apartment and the vehicle she was driving when the attack occurred last week.
The police also took possession of Diallo’s cellphone, and later questioned a 34-year-old man in Lyon who was in jail on unrelated charges. The man, who was described as an acquaintance of Diallo’s, was also released without charges on Thursday, the Versailles prosecutor confirmed.
The news of Diallo’s arrest had come as a surprise to Paris St.-Germain, an elite team that is the reigning champion of France and one of the richest and most powerful clubs in world soccer. Team officials learned of Diallo’s detention on Wednesday morning — and the suggestion she might have had a role in the attack on Hamraoui — from news media reports, and only after she was in custody.
They were further stunned by the accusations because Diallo and Hamraoui were viewed as friends; L’Equipe and other news outlets in France reported that the players — who have both played for France’s national team but had never before been members of the same club side — had even vacationed together.
In the days since the attack last Thursday night, Diallo — who was unharmed in the incident — had continued to practice with the team, and she had started and played nearly the entire match on Tuesday as P.S.G. Real Madrid was defeated in the Champions League.
She was taken into custody hours later.
After Diallo had attended a team dinner, the assault occurred. Afterward, Diallo and two other members of the team, including Hamraoui, had traveled home together in Diallo’s team-issued Toyota since they live close to one another in the same Paris suburb.
After dropping off their teammate, Diallo and Hamraoui had their car stopped by two masked men as it neared Hamraoui’s home. In the darkness, one of two men pulled Hamraoui’s car from the road and beat her with a bar metal while the other held Diallo at his side. The attacker reportedly paid particular attention to delivering blows to Hamraoui’s legs.
Hamraoui suffered cuts and bruises, but no broken bones. She was taken to a hospital for treatment. She reported the incident to the police and to club security personnel that night.
But given she had stitches and heavy bruising, she was ruled out of the team’s game against Real Madrid on Tuesday. The club said that her absence was personal and placed her friend Diallo in the starting line-up.
P.S.G. P.S.G. Hamraoui nor Diallo will not be playing.
Aurelien breeden contributed reporting from Paris.
Source: NY Times