Soccer-Spanish court rejects Brazil footballer's Dani Alves appeal against remand over sex claim

Members of the media stand in front of the entrance of Brians 2 prison where Brazilian soccer player Dani Alves was taken after a judge ordered him to be jailed on remand without bail over an alleged sexual assault of a woman in Barcelona, Spain February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

BARCELONA (Reuters) -A Spanish court rejected a request by Brazilian soccer player Dani Alves to be released from jail on remand as the investigation over an alleged sexual assault in a Barcelona night club continues, the regional court said on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old, who has denied any wrongdoing, was jailed on remand without bail on Jan. 20 after a local woman filed a complaint last month about an event at the exclusive Sutton nightclub in the city centre. Police are investigating and the case remains open over a crime of sexual assault.

Alves' lawyer had asked for him to be released on bail if he surrendered his passport and wore an electronic tag, arguing that he had family ties in Spain.

However, the court rejected the arguments and ordered him to remain on remand at the Brians 2 prison on the outskirts of Barcelona.

"There is a high risk of fleeing as... the severe punishment he faces in the present case, the strong evidence of wrongdoing and his economic might would make it possible for him... to leave Spain at any time," the court said.

The case has attracted significant attention in Spain, because of Alves' profile but primarily because sexual assault has remained a dominant political theme since the 2016 gang-rape of a teenager during the San Fermin bull-running festival which led to the toughening of sexual violence laws in the country.

In Spain, a claim of rape is investigated under the general accusation of sexual assault and convictions can lead to jail time of between four and 15 years.

Conviction of such a charge also paves the way for financial compensation to be paid to the victim to cover physical, physiological and moral harm.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro and Joan Faus, writing by Emma PinedoEditing by Christian Radnedge)

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