Spanish court confirms sexual assault, no rape, sentence in 'Wolf Pack' case

Spanish court confirms sexual assault, no rape, sentence in 'Wolf Pack' case

By Paul Day

 

MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish regional court on Wednesday confirmed a controversial ruling that cleared five men of gang-raping an 18-year-old woman during Pamplona's San Fermin festival, a case which led to protests across Spain over chauvinism and sexual abuse.

 

The Navarra court confirmed nine-year prison sentences for the men - who called themselves "The Wolf Pack" and joked about the 2016 incident in a Whatsapp group - for the lesser crime of sexual assault.

 

The state prosecutor had originally asked for sentences of more than 20 years each for rape, which in Spainrequires a plaintiff to present evidence of specific violence such as being threatened with a knife or dealt physical blows.

 

While the ruling agreed that the men had assaulted the woman in the doorway of a residential building, an incident that they recorded on their mobile phones, the lack of physical violence meant they would not be convicted of rape under Spanish law.

 

In July the government announced plans to change the Spanish penal code to make rape convictions easier.

 

"The sentence reinforces the need to make precise changes to the crimes of rape and sexual violence and to differentiate them those of abuse," Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said on Twitter on Wednesday.

 

The government had in July announced plans to change the Spanish penal code to make rape convictions easier.

 

The case attracted international attention in the wake of the global #MeToo movement that has highlighted sexual abuse and mistreatment of women.

 

It occurred during the annual San Fermin bull-running festival in the Navarran capital Pamplona, which is famed for its drunken revelry.

 

But concern has grown over increased reports of sex attacks and harassment at the event, as well as over the mistreatment of women in general in Spain.

 

"(The ruling) is an embarrassment that shows that male chauvinism is well established in the courts and we must take measures, measures that must educate judges because woman can't continue to live in fear," the leader of the far-left Podemos party, Pablo Iglesias, said in an interview with state broadcaster TVE on Wednesday.

 

The original ruling was met by a wave of protests in Pamplona and other cities across Spain, where chants of "I believe you, sister" and "Drunk and alone, I want to get home" rang out across town squares.

 

Further protests were announced in cities across Spain following Wednesday's ruling.

 

The ruling, which can now be appealed in the Supreme Court, saw the men released on bail in June on a legal technicality that says no one can be held for more than two years without a definitive sentence being handed down.

 

All five men, who include a former policeman and a former soldier, paid 6,000 euros ($6,800) in bail though their release led to further protests and concern across the political spectrum with pledges to revise the justice system's response to such charges.

 

(Reporting by Paul Day; Editing by Jose Elias Rodriguez and Angus MacSwan)

 
reuters_logo.jpg
-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-12-06
latest news from World

Iran can sink U.S. warships with 'secret weapons', military official says An F/A-18F Super Hornet makes an arrested landing on the flight deck of the U.S. Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Gulf of Oman May 22, 2019. U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matt...

READ MORE...

Contest to replace May as British prime minister hots upBy Michael Holden FILE PHOTO: Former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson gives a speech at the JCB Headquarters in Rocester, Staffordshire, Britain, January 18, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Yates/File Photo LONDON (Reuters) - The contest to...

READ MORE...

British climber dies on Everest as death toll of climbers in Nepal reaches 18By Gopal Sharma FILE PHOTO: A trekker stands in front of Mount Everest, which is 8,850 meters high (C), at Kala Patthar in Solukhumbu District May 7, 2014. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar/File Photo KATHMANDU (Reuters) - A...

READ MORE...

Trump arrives in Japan for ceremonial visit as trade tensions loomBy Jeff Mason U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One at Tokyo Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife,...

READ MORE...
sponsors