The trial for alleged rape involving former Barcelona footballer Dani Alves has commenced in a Spanish court.

The trial for alleged rape involving former Barcelona footballer Dani Alves has commenced in a Spanish court.

Dani Alves, the ex-player for Barcelona and Brazil, faced a trial on Monday following his arrest last year on charges of sexually assaulting a woman at a nightclub.

The individual, who is 40 years old, has been held in custody before the trial for over a year after being arrested for purportedly committing a sexual assault against a woman in Barcelona on December 31, 2022. He claims to be innocent. The prosecution is seeking a nine-year imprisonment for Alves if found guilty, while the accuser’s lawyers are advocating for a 12-year sentence.

Alves entered the courtroom wearing a white dress shirt and jeans, having arrived in a police van. His mother was also in attendance at the Barcelona court. During a brief break when the courtroom was cleared, Alves’s mother blew him a kiss and made a heart-shaped gesture as he was led back inside in handcuffs.

The judge ruled that the accuser’s testimony on Monday would be given in a private setting without any media presence. Additionally, no photos or videos of her can be taken to safeguard her anonymity. This decision was made after a video surfaced on social media last month that potentially revealed her identity. During her testimony, a screen was used to separate the accuser from Alves and the court instructed that any video recordings of her testimony be blurred and her voice altered as a precautionary measure in case of a breach of privacy.

According to her statement to state prosecutors in the previous year, the woman claims she encountered Alves at the Sutton nightclub in a posh Barcelona neighborhood after midnight. She accompanied him to a VIP section and a private bathroom where he reportedly hit her, used offensive language, and sexually assaulted her.

The woman’s attorney, Ester García, informed reporters outside the court that her client was able to testify and bring the matter to a close. García praised her client for being courageous in reaching this point. She also mentioned that Alves’s legal team had attempted to negotiate a deal to avoid the trial, but it was unsuccessful as her client did not agree with the proposed sentence for the player. The details of the offer made by Alves’s team were not disclosed by García.

Two females, a close friend and a relative, who were with the woman at the club stated that when she came out of the restroom, she was upset and informed them that Alves had caused her significant harm. Employees at the club also provided testimony.

On the final day of the trial, Alves is scheduled to testify on Wednesday. Prior to being formally charged by an investigative judge in August, Alves’s legal team attempted to undermine the testimony of his accuser and other witnesses by showing surveillance footage from the nightclub. The court has made it clear that any supposed flirting should not be used to justify a potential case of sexual assault.

Alves changed his defense multiple times. Initially, he claimed to have never seen the woman when he went dancing on the night in question. After his arrest, he denied any sexual contact with her, but eventually admitted to a consensual encounter three months later. He stated that he initially did not admit to the encounter in order to try and save his marriage.

During his only interview since being arrested, Alves stated to Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia in June that he is confident in his actions on the morning of the incident. He clarified that he did not coerce the woman into participating in their activities.

Daniel Alves, also known by his legal name, has switched lawyers on three occasions. He is currently being defended by Inés Guardiola, who was brought on board in October.

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On January 20, 2023, Alves was taken into custody while in Spain after responding to a call from the police. Following an examination of the initial police report and testimonies from the supposed victim, witnesses, and Alves himself, a court ruled for him to be imprisoned. Three days later, Alves was relocated by authorities for safety concerns to a location approximately 45 minutes away from Barcelona. He has remained there since.

Despite offering to surrender his passport and wear a tracking device, Alves was denied bail by the court due to being deemed a potential flight risk. It is important to note that Brazil does not extradite its citizens who have been sentenced in other countries. The trial, which is being overseen by magistrate Isabel Delgado, will involve a panel of three judges. On Tuesday, twenty-two witnesses, including those called by the defense, are scheduled to testify before Alves and experts are heard on Wednesday.

According to Spanish legislation, the offense of sexual assault encompasses a variety of crimes such as online harassment, unwanted touching, and rape, each carrying distinct potential penalties. If convicted, the maximum sentence for rape is 15 years. In the event of a guilty verdict, Alves has been instructed to reserve €150,000 to compensate his accuser and cover any damages awarded.

Alves achieved significant victories throughout his football career with Barcelona, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain. He played a crucial role in Brazil’s success in winning two Copa América titles and an Olympic gold medal. In 2022, he participated in his third World Cup, the only major title he has not yet won. From 2008 to 2016, Alves was an integral part of Barcelona’s successful years as a right-back. During this time, he helped the club win the Champions League three times. In 2022, he briefly returned to the club before his contract with Mexican team Pumas UNAM was terminated following his arrest.