The Spanish justice system is being exposed to the world for the first time. Germany will have to decide in the coming weeks on an extradition request against president Carles Puigdemont, a decision which will be, in practice, an international verdict on the Spanish legal system itself. The decision by the Schleswig-Holstein court will also likely point the way for the similar decisions pending in Belgium, Scotland and Switzerland.
Now, the controversial sentence by a Navarra court in the so-called Manada (wolf pack) case has burst into an already delicate situation. The decision to acquit the five of rape, sentencing them only for the lesser charge of sexual abuse, has been picked up by media from around the world, often less than flatteringly so for the courts. Precisely the opposite of what the justice system needed with the outstanding extradition requests for the Catalan pro-independence politicians.
Fünf Männer sollen 2016 in Pamplona gemeinsam eine Achtzehnjährige vergewaltigt haben. Ihre Anwälte taten dann alles, um die Glaubwürdigkeit des Opfers zu erschüttern. Verschwindet die „Macho-Kultur“ in Spanien einfach nicht? https://t.co/OoGRz7UNKi— FAZ_NET komplett (@FAZ_NET) 26 d’abril de 2018
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is a case in point. The important German daily directly asks "is Macho-Kultur simply not disappearing in Spain".
The paper also reports "appalling figures" on violence against women in Spain: "Last year, 46 women were murdered by their partner or former partner - according to press reports there have been at least 500 [such] deaths since the turn of the millennium. More than 142,000 complaints are before the authorities, 42,000 women are registered as victims, 15,800 men have already been sentenced."
Pamplona 'wolf pack' gang jailed over rape in Spain https://t.co/KY9dQXFRI7— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) 26 d’abril de 2018
The BBC didn't hold back either. They described the members of the gang, noting they include a military officer and a Civil Guard gendarme, specifically "Antonio Manuel Guerrero: a Civil Guard police officer, born in 1989, is thought to have recorded six videos. He also admitted to stealing the victim's phone" and "Alfonso Jesús Cabezuelo, 29: a military officer, is thought to have recorded one video". They also noted that the event in question took place during "the famous San Fermin bull-running festival" in Pamplona in 2016.
The gang of men in Spain called themselves a "manada," or wolf-pack. On Thursday they were found guilty of sexually abusing an 18-year-old woman but cleared of rape. The verdict has prompted protests. https://t.co/wYdkDxKlke— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) 26 d’abril de 2018
The New York Times, also reported on the controversy surrounding what it described as a "case that was seen as a bellwether for women’s rights in Spain".
"The five men used to refer to their own gang as the “manada,” a term commonly used to refer to a pack of wolves, a description that in itself became a symbol for feminist associations of the aggressive machismo that women suffer in Spain".
Colère en Espagne après la condamnation pour « abus sexuels » de « la Meute » de Pampelune https://t.co/PIGdRCOLSv— Le Monde (@lemondefr) 26 d’abril de 2018
The title chosen by Le Monde was "anger in Spain after the conviction for "sexual abuse" of the "wolf pack" of Pamplona". The French paper highlights the fact that defence for one of the accused hired a private investigator to follow the victim shortly before the trial. "Shots of the young woman smiling with her friends had been shown during the hearings, proof, according to the defence, that she wasn't suffering from trauma".