Christmas behind bars

Several of River Plate’s most notorious barra bravas have spent Christmas this year in jail, and now they’re to be joined for the new year by their boss, Alan Schlenker, after a senior judge ordered the capo of Los Borrachos del Tablón to do time in a preventative institute for his suspected ‘intellectual’ part in the murder of Gonzalo Acro.

The decision comes days after Colón barra José Gastón Mendoza was sentenced to six years imprisonment for the attempted murder of a fellow fan in 2006, and would appear to continue the recent good signs that authorities are stamping down on the barras more firmly than previously. Schlenker was allowed to walk free at the start of this month due to ‘lack of evidence’, but his case having never been fully closed, has now been sentenced to be held whilst it’s investigated further, due to his alleged place as the brains behind the killing of Acro.

Cristián Spinelli and Sergio Piñeyro are two other barras also given the sentence, and along with Schlenker they’ve collectively been told to pay the court around AR$250,000 (US$80,000-ish). It did at least mean that Schlenker got to spend Christmas with his family after all – his brother William was already in the same prison for his own part in Acro’s killing. Other members of the gang, ordered to appear before the court by the judge, remain in clandestino.

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