Ex-footballer Dani Alves gets 4.5-year prison sentence for sexual assault

22 February 2024 - 12:02
By Reuters
Brazil soccer player Dani Alves in court during the first day of his trial in Barcelona, Spain, on February 5 2024.
Image: D.Zorrakino/Pool via REUTERS Brazil soccer player Dani Alves in court during the first day of his trial in Barcelona, Spain, on February 5 2024.

A Spanish court on Thursday found former Brazil footballer Dani Alves guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in a Barcelona nightclub in 2022, sentencing him to four-and-a-half years in prison.

The court in Catalonia also ordered that Alves pay €150,000 (R3.1m) to the victim.

“The sentence considers that it has been proven that the victim did not consent, and that there is evidence, in addition to the testimony of the plaintiff, to consider the rape proven,” the court said in a statement.

The public prosecutor had accused the 40-year-old former Barcelona defender of forcing the woman to have sex without her consent and without using a condom.

The 23-year-old woman testified behind a screen with her voice distorted to protect her identity.

Two of her friends told the court that Alves groped them that night before allegedly sexually assaulting her.

Alves was arrested in January last year and has since been held on remand. He initially denied any sexual encounter with the woman whom he said he did not know.

He later said he had consensual sex with her in the restroom of a nightclub, and that he had denied it originally to protect his marriage.

The case has attracted significant attention not only because of Alves' profile but because gender-based violence has become an increasingly dominant topic in Spain's public discourse. It is one of the most high-profile trials in Spain since a law passed in 2022 made consent a key element in sexual assault cases and increased minimum prison time for assaults involving violence.

Reuters