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Ex-Brazil star Dani Alves sentenced to 4.5 years in jail for rape

Agence France-Presse
Ex-Brazil star Dani Alves sentenced to 4.5 years in jail for rape
Brazilian footballer Dani Alves reacts at the start of his trial at the High Court of Justice of Catalonia in Barcelona, on February 5, 2024. Brazilian footballer Dani Alves, a former star at Barca and PSG, goes on trial in Barcelona accused of raping a woman in a local nightclub. Prosecutors are asking for a nine-year prison sentence, followed by 10 years of conditional liberty. They are also asking he pay 150,000 euros ($162,000) in compensation to the woman.
Alberto Estevez / Pool / AFP

BARCELONA, Spain – A Spanish court on Thursday sentenced former Brazil international Dani Alves to four and a half years in prison after finding him guilty of raping a young woman at a Barcelona nightclub in December 2022.

It also ordered the three-time Champions League winner to five years’ probation after he serves his jail term, and demanded he pay 150,000 euros ($162,000) in compensation to the victim.

"The victim did not consent and there is evidence that, beyond the complainant's testimony, permits the rape to be considered proven," the Barcelona court wrote in a statement.

"The court considers as proven the fact that the defendant abruptly grabbed the complainant, threw her to the ground and penetrated her vaginally, preventing her from moving, while the complainant said no and wanted to leave."

Prosecutors had called for a nine-year jail sentence for the 40-year-old followed by 10 years of probation.

Alves, who testified at his trial that the sex with the woman was consensual, can appeal.

One of the world's most decorated footballers who played for Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain during a storied career, Alves went on trial earlier this month on charges of raping a woman at the Sutton nightclub in the early hours of December 31, 2022.

His accuser — who testified behind a screen to protect her identity — said Alves had violently forced her to have sex in a private bathroom of the nightclub despite her begging him to let her go, causing her "anguish and terror", according to prosecutors.

A friend who was with her broke down in tears as she told the court how the victim was "crying uncontrollably" after leaving the bathroom, saying Alves had "really hurt" her.

'Could have left'

Police officers who attended the woman told the court about the victim's state of agitation and "shock" when they arrived at the nightclub, as well as her anxiety that "nobody would believe her" if she filed a complaint.

Alves, who was present in court throughout his three-day trial, testified that his sexual encounter with the woman was consensual and denied hitting her and grabbing her hair.

"I am not that type of man, I am not violent," he told the court after his defense lawyer asked if he had forced her to have sex.

"If she wanted to leave, she could have left, she was not obligated to be there," he added.

Alves’ friend who was with him that night testified the football player drank wine and whisky before going to the nightclub.

His 31-year-old wife Joana Sanz told the court on Tuesday that he appeared very drunk when he got back to their Barcelona home that night and she had not wanted to talk to him because of "the state he was in".

Changed story

Alves, who comes from a poor family in Juazeiro in Brazil’s Bahia State, initially denied knowing the woman in a TV interview but later acknowledged having sex with her, saying it was consensual. He told La Vanguardia newspaper in June that he had lied because he was afraid his wife would leave him.

The player has been in detention since he was arrested in Barcelona in January 2023. His requests to be released on bail have been repeatedly denied by the courts which considered him a flight risk because of his wealth.

Brazil does not extradite its own citizens when they are sentenced in other countries.

Alves is widely considered as one of the greatest defenders of all time, winning 42 trophies during a highly successful career.

The peak of his career was with Barcelona between 2008 and 2016 when he won 23 trophies. At the time of his arrest, he was contracted to Mexican club Pumas UNAM. He was sacked soon after being detained.

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DANI ALVES

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