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Dani Alves sentenced to four and a half years in prison for sexual assault


Former Barcelona and Brazil full-back Dani Alves has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for sexual assault.

Alves, 40, was arrested by local police in January 2023 as part of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault at a nightclub in Barcelona.

The Spanish public prosecutor’s office alleged that Alves sexually assaulted a 23-year-old woman on the night of December 30, 2022, at the Sutton nightclub in Barcelona. He has repeatedly denied the charges against him.

Alves was found guilty on Thursday morning. He has also been sentenced to a further five years of ‘supervised’ freedom upon release and requested to pay €150,000 (£128k, $163k) to the victim plus legal fees.

Alves cannot communicate with the victim for nine years and six months, or go within one kilometre of her.

Spanish public prosecutors had been seeking a nine-year prison term for Alves.

“The ruling considers that it has been proven that the victim did not consent and that there are elements of evidence, in addition to the testimony of the complainant, to understand rape occurred,” the court said in a statement. 

A member of the victim’s prosecution, David Saez, said: “We are not satisfied with the sentence.

“We have to consider whether the severity of the sentence is commensurate with the gravity of the facts that have now been proven.”

Alves, who played 408 matches for Barca across two spells, as well as 126 times for Brazil, has been in custody since his arrest on January 20, 2023. Before his trial began on February 5, he had been held in a prison to the north west of Barcelona.

Five people testified at the start of the trial: the alleged victim, her friend, her cousin, a waiter and a doorman from the nightclub. On the day the trial started, Alves’ defence team requested that he testify last and on the trial’s final day.

The following day saw 21 witnesses take the stand. Among the most prominent were Joana Sanz, Alves’ wife, and Bruno Brasil, the friend who was with the footballer on the night in question.

On the final day in court — Wednesday, February 7 — forensic, medical and psychological experts also testified. Alves spoke towards the end of the proceedings and invoked his right to be questioned only by his lawyer and not by the alleged victim’s lawyer.

Throughout the investigation, Alves has provided different accounts of the events. In a June interview, he confessed to initially providing false information about the incident.

Initially, Alves refuted claims of sexual penetration, claiming that the woman had performed oral sex on him. However, during his second testimony before the investigating judge on April 17 last year, he admitted that sexual penetration did take place, but that it was consensual. Alves acknowledged he had lied in previous statements in an attempt to preserve his marriage.

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(JORDI BORRAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)





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