A Spanish court has ruled that ex-Barcelona and Brazil footballer Dani Alves can be conditionally released from jail after serving about a quarter of his sentence for rape.

Alves, who was sentenced to four and a half years in prison last month, will be released on a €1m (£853,000) bail.

He had been held in pre-trial detention since January 2023.

The 40-year-old was found guilty of raping a woman in a Barcelona nightclub in December 2022.

The victim’s lawyer called the decision “a scandal”.

The conditions for his release include turning over both his Brazilian and Spanish passports so he cannot leave Spain.

He must also appear before the court on a weekly basis.

The court additionally imposed a restraining order, preventing him from approaching the victim.

The ruling came a day after Alves’ lawyer requested his release on the grounds that he had already served a quarter of his sentence in pre-trial detention following his arrest.

The decision, which was not unanimous due to a dissenting vote from one of the judges, can still be appealed.

The victim’s lawyer, Ester Garcia, said: “To me, it’s a scandal that they let a person who they know can get a million euros in no time walk free.”

Ms Garcia told RAC1 radio she was “outraged and dissatisfied” with the ruling, adding it was “a justice (system) for the rich” and that she would lodge an appeal.

Lawyers for Alves have not yet commented.

During last month’s trial, prosecutors said Alves and his friend had bought champagne for three young women before Alves lured one of them to a VIP area of the nightclub with a toilet which she had no knowledge of.

They argued that it was at this point he turned violent, forcing the woman to have sex despite her repeated requests to leave.

Alves had maintained she could have left “if she wanted to”. However, the court found that she did not consent.

Spanish law was changed recently to enshrine the importance of consent under the so-called “Only Yes is Yes” principle.

In a statement, the court said there was evidence other than the victim’s testimony that proved that she had been raped.

It said Alves had “abruptly grabbed the complainant” and thrown her to the ground. He had then raped her while preventing her from moving as “the complainant said no and wanted to leave”, it added.

The woman said the rape had caused her “anguish and terror”, and one of her friends who was with her on the night described how the 23-year-old had cried “uncontrollably” after leaving the bathroom.

Alves changed his testimony on a number of occasions.

He first denied knowing his accuser only to claim later that he had met her in the toilet but that nothing had happened between them.

He then changed his version of events again, saying that they had had consensual sex. “We were both enjoying ourselves,” he alleged.

Alves played more than 400 times for Barcelona, winning six league titles and three Champions Leagues across two spells with the club. He was also part of Brazil’s 2022 World Cup squad.

Source:BBC Sports

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