Brazil's football star Dani Alves found guilty of raping a woman in Spain nightclub

Brazilian soccer star Dani Alves sits during his trial in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, Feb. 5, 2024.
Brazilian soccer star Dani Alves sits during his trial in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, Feb. 5, 2024. Copyright D.Zorrakino/Pool Photo via AP, File
Copyright D.Zorrakino/Pool Photo via AP, File
By Euronews with AP
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The 40-year-old Brazilian football player denied any wrongdoing during the three-day trial this month.

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Former Barcelona and Brazil football player Dani Alves was on Thursday found guilty by a Spanish court of raping a woman in a Barcelona nightclub in the early hours of December 31, 2022. He was sentenced to four years and six months in prison.

Alves, 40, who is one of the most decorated footballers in the history of the sport, denied any wrongdoing during a trial that took place over three days this month. The decision can be appealed.

The Barcelona court found that Alves sexually assaulted his victim in an upscale Barcelona nightclub, after luring her in a bathroom in the VIP section of the venue. State prosecutors had sought a nine-year prison sentence for Alves while the lawyers representing his accuser wanted 12 years. 

His defence lawyers asked for his acquittal, or if found guilty a one-year sentence plus 50,000 euros compensation for the victim.

Alves has been in jail since being detained on January 20, 2023. His requests for bail were denied because the court considered him a flight risk. Brazil does not extradite its own citizens when they are sentenced in other countries.

The victim, whose identity is being protected and kept anonymous, told state prosecutors she danced with Alves and willingly entered the nightclub bathroom, but that later when she wanted to leave he would not let her. She said he slapped her, insulted her and forced her to have sexual relations against her will.

Alves first denied any sexual contact with the victim before admitting to sexual relations that he said were consensual. He said he had been trying to save his marriage by not admitting to the encounter initially.

The court found that the woman did not consent, saying there was evidence other than the victim's testimony that proved that she had been raped.

During the trial, his defence focused on trying to show that Alves was drunk when he met the woman.

The Alves case was the first high-profile sex crime since Spain overhauled its legislation in 2022 to make consent, or the lack thereof, central to defining a sex crime in response to an upswell of protests after a gang-rape case during the San Fermin bull-running festival in Pamplona in 2016.

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