Spain To Seek Longer Sentence For Alves Rape Case

Judicial sources disclosed on Friday that Spanish prosecutors intend to challenge the four-and-a-half year prison sentence awarded to former Brazilian soccer star Dani Alves for rape, aiming for a more severe penalty.

Following his conviction for sexually assaulting a young woman at a Barcelona nightclub in December 2022, Alves received his sentence on February 22.

Alongside his prison sentence, the 40-year-old footballer was placed under five years’ probation and instructed to provide the victim with 150,000 euros ($162,000) in compensation.

Prosecutors had pushed for a nine-year incarceration term, with an additional ten years of probation, for him.

Alves, one of the most decorated footballers globally, having played for Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, maintained that the sexual encounter was consensual.

Immediately after the sentence, his lawyers said they would appeal.

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 her begging him to release her, causing her “anguish and terror”, prosecutors said.

Read also: Alleged Sexual Assault: Dani Alves To Stand Trial In Barcelona

Police officers who later came to the nightclub told the court about the woman’s state of agitation and “shock” as well as her anxiety that “nobody would believe her” if she filed a complaint.

In sentencing him, the Barcelona court said: “The victim did not consent and there is evidence that, beyond the complainant’s testimony, permits the rape to be considered proven.

“The court considers as proven the fact that the defendant abruptly grabbed the complainant, threw her to the ground and penetrated her vaginally, preventing her from moving, while the complainant said no and wanted to leave,” it said.

Alves’ legal counsel argued that the victim was “glued” to the player during their dance at the nightclub, citing the presence of “sexual tension” between them.

Nonetheless, within its detailed 61-page judgment, the court underscored that the victim’s behavior did not equate to “consent for any subsequent actions”.

In October 2022, Spain’s parliament enacted the “only yes means yes” law, which bolstered the criminal code regarding sexual violence by stipulating explicit consent for sexual acts.

This action, long advocated for by assault survivors and women’s rights groups, eliminated the need for rape victims to demonstrate they experienced violence or intimidation.

The objective was to redirect attention from the victims’ resistance to a woman’s unequivocal and freely given consent. However, it was revised six months later to address a loophole.

Africa Today News, New York 

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