Barcelona court deliberates over Dani Alves preventive custody appeal in alleged rape case

The defense team of the former FC Barça player is now arguing that as the victim did not suffer any vaginal injuries, the act was consensual

Dani Alves during a Pumas match in Mexico.
Dani Alves during a Pumas match in Mexico.Jam Media (Getty)

The Barcelona provincial court handling the case against soccer player Dani Alves held a hearing Thursday in which the prosecution and defense presented their arguments on the appeal filed by the former Barça, PSG and Juventus player against the court’s decision to hold him in custody over allegations Alves raped a young woman in a nightclub in the Catalan capital. Both the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the prosecution have requested that Alves remain in preventive custody, arguing that he presents a flight risk and pointing to the evidence against him. Alves’ defense team, led by Cristóbal Martell, who represented Lionel Messi during the Argentina captain’s tax fraud case, argued that as the victim did not suffer any vaginal injuries the act was consensual. As such, the defense now assumes that the complainant was vaginally penetrated during the alleged assault, which Alves initially denied in his statement to the court. Biological tests have since revealed that the woman had traces of semen in her genital area.

There is no specific timeline for the court to rule on whether Alves should continue to be held in pre-trial custody while it considers the appeal. The Prosecutor’s Office has requested the detention order be maintained, citing the multiple indications that in their opinion incriminate Alves – including DNA evidence – while Ester García, the victim’s lawyer, insisted he presents a serious flight risk. Alves is currently being held in Module 13 of the Brians 2 prison, which primarily houses inmates who have been sentenced for crimes of a sexual nature.

The Brazilian’s defense team, meanwhile, claim any sexual relations were consensual and have pointed to security camera footage showing the complainant dancing in a relaxed manner moments before the alleged incident took place.

Alves has been in preventive custody without bail since January 20 by judicial order, as the court believes the risk of flight is high due to his economic resources and because Spain and Brazil have no extradition treaty. The judge presiding over the case also considered that there is sufficient evidence to confirm that version of events given by the victim, who filed a complaint with the Catalan regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra, stating she had been raped in the bathroom of a private VIP area of the high-end Sutton nightclub in Barcelona on December 30.

Alves’ lawyers filed an appeal on January 31 requesting his release in exchange for the surrender of his passport, wearing an ankle bracelet, paying any bail demands and appearing daily at the court. The defense appeal played down the risk of flight on which the judge based her decision to order preventive custody, arguing that he no longer has the “economic muscle” he once did after his current team, Mexican club Pumas, terminated his contract and several commercial deals with various brands were suspended.

The victim’s lawyer argues that the preventive confinement of the player is justified, among other reasons, because the judicial process is “moving very quickly” and that releasing Alves, even under strict precautionary measures, would represent serious psychological damage for the victim: “To release him would be an attack against the psychological integrity of my client,” García said.

Alves’ legal team have argued that the player has roots in Spain and has been registered in the country since 2010, as well as having two companies with a combined capital of around €1 million in his name in Barcelona.

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