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Brazilian footballer Dani Alves appears in court accused of raping 23-year-old woman in Barcelona nightclub
5 February 2024, 14:08
Former Barcelona star Dani Alves has appeared in court this morning standing on trial for rape - where he faces a prison sentence of up to 12 years.
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Alves, 40, is accused of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old woman in a Barcelona nightclub on New Year's Eve in 2022. He denies any wrongdoing.
The Brazilian full-back was driven to court in a police van from Brians 2 Prison on the outskirts of Barcelona where he has been held on remain for more than a year.
Alves appeared dressed in a white shirt and jeans, and was accompanied in the courthouse by his mother.
The trial is scheduled to run through to Wednesday.
Spanish prosecutors are seeking a nine-year prison sentence for Alves - while the accuser's lawyers are calling for a term of 12 years behind bars.
Rape can carry a maximum sentence of 15 years under Spain's 2022 sexual consent laws.
Alves was initially arrested in January 2023, weeks after the alleged assault, after answering a police summons during his visit to Spain.
Following an initial investigation, a hearing testimony from the alleged victim, Alves, and witnesses, a court ordered that he be jailed.
Alves' subsequent request for bail was denied due to the court deeming him a flight risk. He had promised to hand over his passport and wear a tracking device.
It comes after the alleged victim said he met Alves at upscale nightclub Sutton just after midnight. She said they went to the VIP area and to a private bathroom.
Alves is accused of slapping the woman, verbally insulting her, and raping her, according to her testimony.
Aleves' lawyers presented security camera footage from the nightclub. But the court ruled that any alleged flirting should not "in any way justify an eventual sexual assault".
The former footballer has modified his defense several times since his arrest.
The trial will be held before a three-judge panel presided over by magistrate Isabel Delgado. Twenty-eight witnesses will give testimony between Monday and Tuesday before the court hears experts on Wednesday.
The court will decide on Monday when Alves and his accuser will testify.
The court has ordered that the accuser's evidence will be behind closed doors and that no image of her can be taken to protect her identity.
That decision came after a video circulated on social media last month that allegedly identified the woman. Alves has been ordered to set aside 150,000 euros (£128,349) to pay his alleged victim if he is found guilty and ordered to pay damages.
The former footballer, who enjoyed success as a key part of Barcelona's golden generation, played for the Catalan club between 2008 and 2016 and won three Champions League titles. He rejoined the club briefly in 2022.
He most recently played for Mexican side Pumas, who cancelled his contract after his arrest.