FERW stands in support of the recent decision by a Spanish court to sentence former Brazil international footballer Dani Alves to four and a half years in prison for the rape of a young woman at a Barcelona nightclub in December 2022.

The verdict, handed down on Thursday, February 22, also mandates five years of probation for Alves after serving his sentence, along with a compensation order of €150,000 to the victim. Prosecutors had initially sought a nine-year jail term for the 40-year-old, along with 10 years of probation.

Renowned for his illustrious career with clubs such as Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, Dani Alves stood trial earlier this month on charges related to the assault at the Sutton nightclub in December 2022.

During the trial, the victim, whose identity was protected, bravely recounted the harrowing ordeal she faced, detailing how Alves forcibly engaged in sexual intercourse with her despite her protests, causing significant distress and fear.

The court’s ruling affirmed that the encounter was non-consensual, citing evidence supporting the conclusion of rape. Alves, however, maintains his innocence and intends to appeal the verdict.

Throughout the trial, Alves’ defense sought to portray the encounter as consensual, alleging his intoxication at the time as a mitigating factor. However, the court determined that the injuries sustained by the victim were a result of Alves’ use of force, dismissing claims of consensual engagement.

The case underscores the importance of explicit consent in sexual interactions, as reinforced by Spain’s “only yes means yes” law enacted in 2022. The court rejected arguments suggesting the victim’s behavior implied mutual interest, emphasizing that consent must be explicit and cannot be inferred from preceding actions.

Since his arrest in January 2023, Alves has remained in custody, with bail requests consistently denied due to concerns over flight risk. Notably, Brazil’s policy of not extraditing its citizens sentenced abroad adds weight to the court’s decision.

FERW supports the court’s verdict, which reflects a commitment to justice and upholding the rights of survivors. We commend the bravery of the victim in coming forward and standing against sexual violence. As an independent news organization, we remain dedicated to reporting on such cases with integrity and sensitivity, advocating for accountability and the protection of all individuals from harm.

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