French Player Re-Arrested in Case of Attack on Teammate
A former Paris St.-Germain women’s soccer player was arrested and detained by the police for a second time on Friday as part of an investigation into a violent attack on one of her teammates last year by masked men wielding a metal bar.
The player, Aminata Diallo, was taken into custody early Friday morning, the police in Versailles, near Paris, said in a statement.
The attack became headline news in France and beyond last year because of the nature of the assault on the teammate, Kheira Hamrouai, and the subsequent arrest of Diallo. The cinematic story line — masked men wielding a metal bar on a dark street, reports of marital infidelity and unsubstantiated reports that a fight for playing time had factored in the attack — has led filmmakers to approach both women about collaborating in projects.
But it also convulsed both the P.S.G. team and the French women’s national team, on which both women had played, and it even led to the breakup of the marriage of a celebrated former French men’s player, Eric Abidal. Abidal’s wife, Hayet Abidal, filed for divorce last year, claiming that her husband had admitted to an extramarital affair with Hamraoui.
The police statement released on Friday said that the case was under the control of an investigating magistrate who would determine its next steps. The statement added that four other arrests had been made as part of the investigation.
Diallo has maintained her innocence from the start, and she was released without being charged after her first detention last year. Neither she nor her lawyer has made any public comments since her new arrest on Friday.
The attack on Hamraoui followed a team dinner last November at an upscale restaurant in a park on the outskirts of Paris. Diallo had offered Hamraoui a ride home but, after dropping off a third teammate at her home, their journey was interrupted when two men emerged in front of the club-issued car that Diallo was driving, opened the passenger door and dragged Hamraoui out. One of the men then began beating Hamraoui with a metal bar, focusing on her legs and leaving her cut and bruised. Diallo told the police that she was pinned to the steering wheel by another man while the attack took place.
A week after the attack, Diallo was arrested, and she was kept in police custody for 36 hours. The Versailles prosecutor’s office confirmed at the time 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 incident has wrecked the careers of both women. Diallo, 27, retired from professional soccer this summer after her contract with P.S.G. expired. Hamraoui, 32, remains under contract at P.S.G., but she is in a dispute with the club about her treatment after having not been selected to play by the team’s current management.
Both players were left off the France squad that competed in this summer’s European women’s championship in England.
Diallo’s lawyer, Mourad Battikh, did not reply to a request for comment on Friday. Earlier this week, however, after several men were arrested in connection with the attack, Battikh had said that there was no link between them and Diallo. “Aminata is innocent and has claimed her innocence since the beginning,” he said.
In France, detention is not uncommon in police investigations. But in most cases, prosecutors must charge suspects or release them within 48 hours. The investigation can continue, however, and Diallo, or anyone else, could be charged at a later date if evidence implicates them in a crime.
The judge responsible for the case may decide the next steps soon, the Versailles police said. Diallo and the others arrested this week are scheduled to make an appearance before the judge on Friday.