Dani Alves granted €1 million bail after sexual assault conviction

Ancient Brazil footballer Daniel Alves was released on bail for 1 million euros ($1.1 million) on appeal, a court in Barcelona, ​​Spain, announced Wednesday.

Alves, 40, was convicted of sexual assault last month and sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison, of which he had already served more than a year.

For Alves to be released, he must surrender his Brazilian and Spanish passports, in addition to posting bail, and is prohibited from leaving the country. He also cannot approach within 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) of the victim or attempt to communicate with her, and he must report to the courthouse every week.

He still has a residence near the city.

On Tuesday evening, Spanish news agency EFE reported that bail had not yet been posted, meaning Alves will spend at least one more night in prison.

All parties involved – the defense, the victim’s legal team and the prosecution – have three days to appeal Wednesday’s decision.

Ester García, the victim’s lawyer, expressed her disappointment with the decision to Spanish media outlet RAC1 after leaving the court.

“I’m really unhappy with this decision,” she said. “We are going to appeal because we believe this is not in accordance with the law.

“Justice is being served to the rich. It is scandalous that they release someone because they can get 1 million euros in no time.”

On Tuesday, Alves’ lawyer, Inés Guardiola, said there was no risk he would flee the country or destroy evidence, while the former Barcelona The player appeared via video link and insisted he was not a flight risk and was ready to hand over his passports.

The prosecution, for its part, requested a sentence of nine years, believing that the four and a half year sentence handed down in February was not sufficient punishment for the crime committed.

Alves was found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in a Barcelona nightclub in 2022 following a 13-month investigation – during which Alves remained in pre-trial prison – and a trial of three days last month.

During the trial, testimonies from the victim’s friend and cousin, Alves’ friend with whom he was on the night of the crime, the police officers who treated the woman and a forensic psychologist who examined it were heard.

Police said the victim was very shaken and told them she had been sexually assaulted by Alves, while the psychologist said she was suffering from post-traumatic symptoms, a finding disputed by an external expert called by the defense.

During this time, Alves always maintained his innocence but changed his story five times, eventually saying he had sex with the victim but lied to hide his infidelity to his wife. He later added that he was drunk.

The Alves case was the first high-profile sex crime since Spain revised its legislation in 2022 to put consent at the heart of the definition of a sex crime in response to a wave of protests following a rape case collective during the San Fermin bullfight in Pamplona. in 2016.

The legislation, commonly known as the “only yes means yes” law, defines consent as the explicit expression of a person’s will, making clear that silence or passivity does not amount to consent.

However, the law initially led to sentence reductions for hundreds of sex offenders because it set lower minimum sentences, like that applied to Alves, before the law was reformed.

Throughout a career that spanned more than 20 years, Alves won major titles with clubs like Barça, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. He also won America’s Cup with Brazil twice and an Olympic gold medal at age 38.

He played in his third World Cup, the only major title he did not win, in 2022.

He played for Barca from 2008 to 2016 and briefly rejoined the club for a second stint in 2022 before moving to Mexico with the Pumas.

Alves’ contract with the Mexican club was terminated immediately after his arrest.

Associated Press reporting contributed to this report.

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