Dani Alves released from prison after paying bail while awaiting appeal of rape conviction in Spain

Brazilian soccer star Dani Alves has been released from prison after paying 1 million euros in bail to be set free while appealing a rape conviction

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MADRID (AP) — Brazilian soccer star Dani Alves was released from prison Monday after paying 1 million euros ($1.2 million) in bail to be set free while appealing a rape conviction, a Spanish court said.

The former Barcelona player also handed over his passports, with prosecutors having argued against releasing him on bail because of a possible flight risk.

Alves last month was found guilty of raping a woman in a nightclub in December 2022 and sentenced to four years, six months in prison. He denied wrongdoing during the three-day trial.

The 40-year-old Alves, who left the courthouse wearing jeans and a black jacket over a white shirt, had spent the last 14 months in the Brians II prison located 45 minutes from Barcelona, since he was detained preventively by authorities investigating the rape accusation against him.

Alves is not allowed to leave Spain and is prohibited from approaching or communicating with the victim.

Alves’ release coincided with a protest outside Brians II by prison officers who have been demanding better conditions in jails in northeastern Catalonia following the killing of a prison cook by an inmate at another jail.

Alves is required to come to the court every Friday, and any other time when ordered to do so. He also is required to provide a phone number so he can be contacted and located. The Brazilian player is not allowed to be within 1 kilometer (0,6 mile) of the victim's residence, work place or any other location where she usually goes.

Last week, a court granted him the possibility to leave prison on bail after all of his other previous requests had been denied because he was deemed a flight risk. The judges were split 2-1 on last week's decision, with those in favor of granting Alves bail saying they believed the flight risk had lowered.

Spain's state prosecutors' office in Barcelona on Friday asked a court to reconsider that decision, saying they believed the risk of Alves fleeing increased after he was found guilty. They wanted Alves to remain jailed while awaiting his appeal.

Prosecutors also reminded the court that Brazil does not extradite its citizens when they are sentenced in other countries.

No date has been set for the appeals trial at a higher court in Barcelona. After that, the case could go to the Spanish supreme court in Madrid. Alves' lawyers are seeking his acquittal while prosecutors want his prison sentence increased to nine years. The victim’s lawyer wants him jailed for 12 years.

Alves was one of the most successful players of his generation and won dozens of titles with elite clubs including Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. He also helped Brazil win two Copa Americas and an Olympic gold medal at age 38. He played at his third World Cup, the only major title he hasn’t won, in 2022. He played for Barcelona from 2008-16, helping to win three Champions Leagues and six Spanish leagues, and briefly rejoined the club in 2022. He still has a residence near the city.

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Associated Press Writer Ciarán Giles contributed to this report.

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