Dani Alves trial: Ex-Brazil and Barcelona footballer denies nightclub rape

Dani Alves trial: Ex-Brazil and Barcelona footballer denies nightclub rape
Dani Alves sits in court with his head bowed during his trialEPA

Former Barcelona and Brazil footballer Dani Alves denied raping a woman in a nightclub as he took the stand on the final day of his trial in Spain.

The 40-year-old has been in prison without bail since he was arrested in January of last year.

He told a Barcelona court the woman could have left “if she wanted to”, adding that he was “not a violent man”.

Prosecutors are calling for a nine-year jail sentence and financial compensation.

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Mr Alves’ accuser previously told the court he had lured her into a toilet in the VIP section of a Barcelona nightclub before forcing her to have sex with him.

During his 20-minute testimony, Mr Alves said: “If she wanted to leave, she could have left, she was not obligated to be there.”

He added that “at no time” had she asked to leave, according to AFP news agency.

The footballer also denied hitting the young woman.

Prosecutors said Mr Alves and his friend had bought champagne for three young women before asking one of them to accompany him to another area with a toilet of which she had not been aware.

Once inside, they said, he turned violent, forcing the woman to have sex despite her repeated requests to be let go.

Earlier on Wednesday, a psychologist who treated the woman after the alleged rape testified that they had found “no indication” that she was inventing the situation or exaggerating it and that she showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Experts called by the defence argued that she could have been upset by the intense press focus on the case.

On Tuesday, a friend of Mr Alves told the court he had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol before entering the nightclub.

His wife Joana Sanz, 31, said he had appeared very drunk when he got back to their Barcelona home that night and had bumped into furniture before collapsing on the bed.

A friend who was with the alleged victim on the night cried as she told the court how the woman had “cried uncontrollably” after leaving the toilet and said Mr Alves had “really hurt” her.

Mr Alves had initially denied knowing the alleged victim in a TV interview before later acknowledging he had had sex with her but saying it had been consensual.

In Spain, a claim of rape is investigated under the general accusation of sexual assault, and convictions can lead to prison sentences of four to 15 years.

The public prosecutor in this case is seeking a nine-year jail term for Mr Alves, and for him to pay damages of €150,000 (£128,000) to the woman.

A verdict is expected in several weeks.

Mr Alves was formally charged in August and a court later decided there was enough evidence to send him to trial.

Repeated requests for him to be released on bail have been denied because the courts considered the Brazilian national a flight risk.

Mr Alves is one of the most decorated footballers in history and has played for a host of top clubs including Barcelona and Paris St Germain.

He made more than 400 appearances for Barcelona, winning six league titles and three Champions Leagues across two spells, and was also part of Brazil’s 2022 World Cup squad.

His most recent club, Mexican side Pumas UNAM, terminated the Brazilian’s contract with immediate effect in January 2023.

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Source: bbc.co.uk

By David Ryckman