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Alves released on bail

China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-27 00:00
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Convicted rapist and former Brazil international Dani Alves left a prison near Barcelona on Monday after posting the one-million-euro ($1.1 million) bail set by a court to ensure his release pending appeal.

The 40-year-old has been in jail since his arrest in January 2023 on suspicion of raping a young woman in the VIP bathroom of a Barcelona nightclub in the early hours of Dec 31, 2022.

Wearing jeans, a white polo neck sweater and black jacket, his face expressionless, Alves walked out of the Brians 2 prison in San Esteban Sasroviras near Barcelona with his lawyer, AFP correspondents at the scene said.

He got into a white car without saying a word to the hordes of reporters waiting nearby, just hours after depositing the sum determined by the court five days earlier.

The former Barcelona player, one of the world's most decorated soccer players, was convicted last month and sentenced to four and a half years in jail, with his lawyers swiftly moving to file an appeal.

But in a surprise move, the court agreed last Wednesday to conditionally release him in exchange for posting a one-million-euro bail, handing over his Spanish and Brazilian passports, staying in Spain and presenting himself to court every week.

Alves had tried to make bail several times since his arrest but his requests were turned down on the basis he was a flight risk since Brazil does not extradite citizens sentenced in other countries.

Alves' lawyers are seeking his acquittal, and the appeal process could take months to complete.

Prosecutors, however, want his prison sentence doubled to nine years.

They and the victim's lawyer, Ester Garcia, have appealed the decision to grant Alves bail.

"This sends the message that this is justice for the rich, and even if there is a conviction, if you pay bail there are no criminal consequences," she told reporters last week.

"It's a very dangerous message for society," she added, saying her client was "totally outraged, very despondent and very frustrated".

The court's decision to free Alves was also robustly criticized by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

"We cannot stay silent in the face of this injustice," he said on Thursday, stressing that money "cannot undo the crime that a man commits by raping a woman".

"When sex is something between two people, it has to be agreed to by both of them" and if not, that constitutes "a crime", he said.

During the trial, the victim, who testified behind a screen to protect her identity, said Alves had violently forced her to have sex despite begging him to let her go, causing her "anguish and terror", according to prosecutors present for her declaration.


Dani Alves



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