Alves released on €1m bail while he appeals rape conviction

March 21 – In a €1 million bail agreement denounced by the victim’s lawyer as “justice for the rich”, former Brazil international Dani Alves is to be released from jail while awaiting his appeal against his conviction for rape.

The ruling came a day after Alves’ lawyer requested the 40-year-old’s release on grounds he had already served a quarter of his four-and-a-half year sentence in pre-trial detention following his arrest in January 2023.

The Brazilian international, one of the most decorated footballers in history, was found guilty last month of sexually assaulting a woman in a Barcelona nightclub on New Years Eve in 2022. The judgement followed a three-day trial in which Alves, who won 43 major trophies and played in three World Cups, denied any wrongdoing.

In the latest ruling, the Barcelona court granted him “provisional release” in exchange for “the bail payment of €1,000,000 “, also requiring he hand over his Spanish and  Brazilian passports, remain in Spain and present himself to court “on a weekly basis”.

But the decision drew a furious response from the lawyer of the victim.

“I’m very surprised and totally outraged… because it’s like this is justice for the rich,” Ester Garcia told RAC1 radio in the northeastern Catalonia region and pledging to appeal on grounds it was “not in line with the law”.

“It is scandalous that they can free a person who they know can get hold of a million euros in a heartbeat,” she added.

Since his arrest 14 months ago, Alves’ legal team has repeatedly asked for his release on bail but the request was always rejected by the court on grounds he was a flight risk.

The judgement came after Alves told the court via video conference from prison that he had no intention of fleeing the country, according to his lawyer, Inés Guardiola.

The panel of judges at the Provincial Court in Barcelona was split on the decision, two to one. The judges in favour of granting Alves bail said that they believed the flight risk had lowered, adding that they took into consideration the fact that Alves responded to police summons when he was arrested while visiting Spain. The other judge disagreed, saying he was still able to flee despite the restrictions placed on him.

Another factor cited by the two judges was that according to Spanish law a person cannot be kept in preventative detention for more than half the period of his or her prison sentence while awaiting an appeal.

In Alves’ case that leaves him just over a year before he would reach the mid-way mark of two years, three months, while the appeals could easily take longer.

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