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Former Brazilian Football Star Dani Alves Sentenced to Prison for Sexual Assault

Sports

By John Adiasi

Former Brazilian Football Star Dani Alves Sentenced to Prison for Sexual Assault

Former Brazil footballer Dani Alves, once celebrated for his achievements on the pitch, faced a dramatic fall from grace as a Barcelona court ruled him guilty of sexually assaulting a young woman. The three-judge panel delivered a verdict that sentenced Alves, 40, to four years and six months in prison on Thursday, following a three-day trial earlier this month. Throughout the trial, Alves vehemently denied any wrongdoing, and he retains the option to appeal the decision.

The court’s decision stemmed from an incident on the early morning of December 31, 2022, when Alves was found guilty of sexually assaulting his victim in the bathroom of a prestigious Barcelona nightclub. State prosecutors had initially sought a nine-year prison term, while the accuser’s legal team pushed for a 12-year sentence. In contrast, Alves’ defense sought either an acquittal or, in the event of a guilty verdict, a reduced one-year sentence along with €50,000 (£43,000) in compensation for the victim.

Alves has been in custody since his arrest on January 20, 2023, with his bail requests repeatedly denied due to concerns of him being a flight risk. Notably, Brazil’s policy prevents the extradition of its citizens when they are convicted in foreign jurisdictions.

During the trial, the victim recounted a harrowing experience where Alves prevented her from leaving the bathroom, physically assaulted her, and engaged in sexual activity against her will after an initial consensual encounter. Alves, who initially denied any sexual contact, later changed his stance while in custody, admitting to consensual relations and attributing his initial denial to efforts to salvage his marriage. Throughout the proceedings, his defense emphasized his alleged inebriated state during the encounter.

This high-profile conviction marks a stark contrast to Alves’ illustrious football career, which saw him clinch numerous titles with renowned clubs like Barcelona, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain. Additionally, he played a pivotal role in Brazil’s victories in two Copa Américas and an Olympic gold medal. Alves, who participated in multiple World Cups, including the 2022 edition, had a significant career stint with Barcelona from 2008 to 2016 and briefly rejoined the club in 2022. Despite the legal ramifications, Alves still maintains a residence in the vicinity of Barcelona.

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