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The group of five young men from Seville who were accused of raping an 18-year-old woman during Pamplona's San Fermín bull-running festival in 2016 have been sentenced to nine years in prison for sexual abuse, but not for rape. According to the defence of the so-called Manada (wolf pack), they had understood that the young woman had consented. As such, the Navarre Audience court decided to acquit all the members of the group of the charges of sexual assault and breach of intimacy.

The group is also required to pay 50,000€ (£43,000, $61,000) in compensation to the survivor. They will also serve five years probation and will have to pay a third of the legal fees and associated healthcare costs. One of them was also accused of stealing the young woman's mobile following the attack, for which he will have to pay a fine of 15€ (£13, $18) a day for two months.

 

Public prosecutors had asked for 22 years and 10 months in prison for the five for rape, breach of intimacy and theft with intimidation, other prosecutors representing different parties under Spanish law, called for higher sentences. The defence, for their part, had called for the group to be acquitted entirely, and one of the three judges voted along with them.

"It's rape, not an abuse"

The sentence is based on article 181 of the Penal Code, which says that "whoever, without violence or intimidation and without consent, carries out actions which infringe upon the sexual liberty or indemnity of another person will be punished, as guilty of sexual abuse, with the penalty of one to three years in prison or a fine of eighteen to twenty-four months".

They do however include aggravating factor 4, which says that "when the sexual abuse consists in carnal access vaginally, anally or orally, or the introduction of body parts or objects by either of the first two methods, the culprit will be punished with the penalty of four to ten years in prison".

That said, many members of the public are unhappy with the sentence. Hundreds had gathered outside the court awaiting the verdict, shouting "it's rape, not abuse", many with red hands.

They also wanted to express their support for the young woman who was attacked, shouting "I believe you". The demonstration, convened by feminist groups Andrea, Lunes Lilas and Gafas Moradas, had the motto "No is no! Justice!".

The sentence has been announced five months after the end of the trial on 28th November last year. In early December, the court rejected an application from defence council to release the five on bail awaiting sentencing. One of the three judges dissented on this decision too, voting they should be released.

Criticism from the world of politics

Popular anger has been shared by many politicians who have commented on the case on Twitter: 

Pedro Sánchez (PSOE): "She said NO. We believe you and we continue believing you. If what the wolf pack didn't wasn't violence as a group against a defenceless woman, what do we then understand rape to be? No is no. I do believe you."

Irene Montero (Podemos): "Five assailants push a woman into a doorway and rape her. It's obvious there is intimidation. That they acted as a group. That there is assault. This sentence should be for rape. Whilst the justice system doesn't protect us we'll take care of each other. We're not alone. Sister, I do believe you. 

Carles Puigdemont (JxCat): "It's a disgrace, a profound disgrace and an outrage. When sexism enters through the door of justice, the rule of law jumps out of the window." 

Ada Colau (BeC): "Sister, I do believe you, and I am outraged that after the violence of a multiple rape you should have to suffer the violence of a patriarchal justice system. You're not alone, today we will be thousands taking to the streets and joining our voices with yours." 

Meritxell Serret (ERC): What injustice! I do believe you. What a disgrace! No is no." 

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