Spanish court hands jail term to Brazil's Dani Alves for assault

AFP

Brazilian footballer Dani Alves was sentenced to four and a half years in prison on Thursday for sexually assaulting a woman in a Barcelona nightclub in 2022.

The top court in Spain's Catalonia region also ordered Alves, who had maintained throughout it was consensual, to pay 150,000 euros ($163,000) 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 - the Audiencia Provincial de Barcelona - said in a statement.

The prosecutor had sought a nine-year prison term for Alves. The verdict can be appealed.

The 40-year-old former Barcelona defender was arrested in January last year and has been held on remand since then.

The case has attracted significant attention not only because of Alves' profile but because gender violence has become an increasingly dominant topic in Spain's public discourse.

It has been one of the most high-profile trials in Spain since a law was passed in 2022 that made consent a key element in sexual assault cases and increased the minimum prison time for assaults involving violence.

Alves' lawyers were not immediately reachable for comment.

"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.

Alves won more than 40 trophies for Brazil and clubs including Barcelona, Sevilla, Juventus and Paris St Germain. Following his arrest, he was fired by Mexico's Pumas UNAM.

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