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Thursday, April 25, 2024  
16 Shawwal 1445  

Spain court bails convicted rapist Dani Alves for 1m euros

'I'm very surprised and totally outraged... because it's like this is justice for the rich,' says survivor's lawyer
Dani Alves was convicted of forcing a woman to have sex in a nightclub bathroom. AFP/File
Dani Alves was convicted of forcing a woman to have sex in a nightclub bathroom. AFP/File

Former Brazil international Dani Alves is to be released from jail pending an appeal against his rape conviction in a one-million-euro bail agreement denounced by the victim’s lawyer as “justice for the rich”.

The ruling came a day after his lawyer requested the 40-year-old’s release on grounds he had already served a quarter of his four-and-a-half-year sentence in pre-trial detention following his arrest in January 2023.

In its ruling, the Barcelona court granted him “provisional release” in exchange for “the bail payment of 1,000,000 euros” ($1.08 million) also requiring he hand over his Spanish and Brazilian passports, remain in Spain and present himself to court “on a weekly basis”.

But the decision drew a furious response from the lawyer of the young woman who was raped by Alves at a Barcelona nightclub in December 2022.

“I’m very surprised and totally outraged… because it’s like this is justice for the rich,” Ester Garcia told RAC1 radio in the northeastern Catalonia region and pledging to appeal on grounds it was “not in line with the law”.

“It is scandalous that they can free a person who they know can get hold of a million euros in a heartbeat,” she said.

One of the world’s most decorated footballers who played for Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, Alves was convicted last month of raping the young woman in the VIP bathroom of Sutton nightclub in the early hours of December 31, 2022.

His lawyers swiftly appealed the conviction.

The court’s decision on Wednesday also bars him from “coming within 1,000 metres (yards) of the plaintiff, her home, her workplace and whatever other place that she is, as well as making any attempt to communicate with her”.

‘Patriarchal justice system’

The decision was also swiftly denounced by the radical left-wing Sumar alliance, which is part of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s leftist coalition.

“Dani Alves can wait at home for his definitive sentencing for RAPE because he has a million euros. The justice system is patriarchal and classist. Enough is enough,” the party wrote on its X account.

Since his arrest 14 months ago, Alves’ legal team has repeatedly asked for his release on bail but the request was always rejected by the court on grounds he was a flight risk.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Alves – who spoke by videoconference from prison – promised the judges he would not flee, with public prosecutors again opposing the request on grounds he posed a high flight risk.

Brazil does not extradite its citizens when they are sentenced in other countries.

The victim, who testified behind a screen to protect her identity, said Alves had violently forced her to have sex in a private bathroom of the nightclub despite begging him to let her go, causing her “anguish and terror”, prosecutors said.

Alves’ lawyers had argued the victim had been “glued” to the player while dancing at the nightclub, saying there was “sexual tension” between them.

But in its 61-page decision, the court said that did not mean “that she consented to anything that might have subsequently happened”.

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