(Barcelona) Former star of Barça and PSG, Brazilian footballer Dani Alves has been on trial since Monday in Barcelona for the rape in December 2022 of a young woman, whose identity is protected by the courts.
Separated from the 40-year-old ex-international by a screen in order to avoid any visual confrontation, the complainant was heard for more than an hour by the court. A closed hearing whose content has not been made public.
His voice was also modified and his face pixelated on the recording, intended for the exclusive use of the judges, in case it were to leak.
Arousing great media attention, this trial, which will resume Tuesday at 9 a.m. and is scheduled to last until Wednesday, is followed on site by dozens of journalists.
Seated in the front row, closely watched by a police officer, Alves, white shirt and blue jeans, remained silent during the hearing, his face closed.
In pre-trial detention for more than a year, the footballer, who disputes the facts, is accused of having raped this young woman in the toilets of a VIP room at the Sutton nightclub in Barcelona, on the night of December 30 to 31 2022.
The prosecution is demanding nine years in prison against him, as well as payment of 150,000 euros ($218,000) to the young woman and 10 years of supervised release at the end of her incarceration.
According to the indictment, the player, who was then spending a few days of vacation in Barcelona after the World Cup in Qatar, was in this nightclub with a friend.
After offering champagne to the complainant, her cousin and a friend, he allegedly invited her to accompany him to an adjoining room with a toilet, which she did not know.
“She doesn’t sleep anymore”
Alves would then have had a “violent attitude” towards the young woman, whom he would have forced to have sexual relations, again according to the prosecution.
“The victim asked him several times (…) to let her go, saying that she wanted to leave, but the accused prevented her,” we can still read in the indictment , which describes a “situation of anxiety and terror” for the young woman.
A version corroborated Monday by the complainant’s friend who explained that Alves was “extremely clingy” that evening.
She then broke down in tears in court as she spoke of how the complainant was “crying desperately” and wanted to leave the scene, after coming out of the toilet, saying Alves had done her “a lot of harm”.
According to the public prosecutor, the complainant suffers from “generally high intensity post-traumatic stress”.
“She doesn’t sleep, has started taking antidepressants, (…) barely leaves the house,” her cousin confirmed in court.
Change of versions
Since the start of the case, Dani Alves, who is due to be heard by the court on Wednesday, has changed his version several times, going so far as to say in a video at the beginning of January that he had never met the complainant.
He then justified himself by asserting that he did not want to jeopardize his marriage, before eventually admitting that he had had a sexual relationship with the young woman, but that it was consensual.
Spanish justice has repeatedly refused his release, highlighting a “high risk of flight” for the player to Brazil, a country which generally does not extradite its nationals.
Alves’ lawyers also tried to reach an agreement with the plaintiff before the start of the trial, as the latter’s lawyer admitted at the end of November.
Such an agreement, mentioned again in recent days, could have allowed the player to be sentenced to a lesser sentence in exchange for recognition of his guilt and compensation for the victim.
One of the most successful footballers in history, Dani Alves enjoyed the most glorious period of his career at Barça, between 2008 and 2016, where he won 23 trophies.
The player, who also played in Seville (Spain) and Juventus Turin (Italy), was playing in the Mexican club Pumas at the time of his incarceration in January 2022. This club, with which he was under contract until at the end of last season, immediately fired him.