19th April 2024
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Dani Alves sentenced to 4.5 years, after being found guilty of rape

The Brazilian and former FC Barcelona footballer Dani Alves has been found guilty of rape by a court in Barcelona and sentenced to 4.5 years in prison.  

Alves was accused of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old woman on the night of 30 December 2022 in the bathroom of a VIP area at the Sutton nightclub in Barcelona. 

The court also ruled that Alves will face five years of supervised release and must pay €150,000 in compensation. 

The victim’s lawyers had requested the maximum 12-year sentence, while public prosecutors had requested nine years. The verdict can be appealed.

‘The victim did not consent and there is evidence that, beyond the complainant’s testimony, permits the rape to be considered proven,’ the court – the Audiencia Provincial de Barcelona – wrote in a statement.

‘We are satisfied as the sentence recognises what we’ve been saying all along: that the victim was telling the truth and that she suffered,’ lawyer David Saenz told reporters outside the courthouse, adding that his team would still analyse whether the sentence corresponds to the gravity of the crime.

The 40-year-old former Brazilian international and Barcelona defender was arrested in January 2023 and had been held on remand since then. He had changed his lawyer twice, having been refused bail on several occasions. 

Prior to the trial, Alves also changed his version of events several times, initially denying that he knew the woman, then saying that it was her who had sexually abused him, later stating that the sexual relations were consensual, and finally adding that he acted under the influence of alcohol. 

The woman’s version was consistent and much of it was corroborated by witnesses and other evidence.  

The court’s verdict comes two weeks after the three-day trial, which took place from 6-8 February. ALSO READ: Dani Alves insists ‘sex was consensual’ as he testifies in final day of trial for alleged rape.

On the first day of the trial, the victim testified behind closed doors, confirming what she had said during the investigation, that Alves invited her and two friends to the VIP area on the night of 30 December 2022. 

After dancing and flirting with them, Alves took the woman with him through a door, which she said she thought was a space to smoke. Once inside, she was surprised to find herself in a small bathroom and wanted to leave, but she said Alves forced her to have sex with him against her will. 

The woman’s version was corroborated by several security cameras, witnesses, her fingerprints on the toilet, Alves’ DNA on her clothing and vagina, and injuries that were consistent with her story. 

The victim’s friend said that after the assault the woman was ‘heartbroken like never before’ and said repeatedly ‘it hurt me a lot, it hurt me a lot’.

On the second day of the trial, Joana Sanz, the footballer’s wife, told the court that her husband arrived home ‘very drunk’ at 4am and ‘reeking of alcohol’.

Sanz said that Alves collided with a wardrobe and a table before he collapsed on the bed. 

Defence lawyers subsequently asked for Alves to be acquitted or, alternatively, a one-year prison sentence, citing alcohol as an extenuating factor. 

Alves himself testified on the third and final day of the trial, saying that the relations he had with the woman were consensual at all times and that they were both ‘enjoying themselves’. 

‘I’m not violent,’ he told the court, adding that at no point did the woman ask him ‘to stop or to leave’.

Alves won major titles with several elite clubs, including Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. He also helped Brazil win two Copa America trophies and an Olympic gold medal at age 38. He played at his third World Cup, the only major title he’s not won, in 2022.

The right back was a key part of Barcelona’s golden years playing between 2008-16 as a teammate of Lionel Messi. He won the Champions League three times during that stretch with the Catalan club, which he briefly rejoined in 2022.

Alves had his contract with Mexican club Pumas terminated immediately after his arrest.

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