Spain court upholds controversial sentence in 'Wolf Pack' case

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-05 23:41:20|Editor: yan
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MADRID, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Supreme Court of the northern Spanish Navarra region on Wednesday upheld the conviction and sentences of nine years in prison for five men found guilty of sexually abusing an 18-year-old woman during the 2016 edition of the famous 'an Fermin' festival in the city of Pamplona (northern Spain).

The Supreme Court judges upheld the Navarra court's (Audiencia de Navarra) original verdict from April this year that the members of the gang (that includes a member of the country's Civil Guard and a member of the Spanish military) were guilty of sexually abusing the woman but not of raping her.

The judges found that even though the woman had been "stunned and unable to react," as her assailants crowded around her in the lobby of a building, what happened did not constitute rape because no physical violence had taken place.

The five men called themselves 'La Manada' or Wolf Pack after the Whatsapp chat group they used to plan and boast about their actions, and the case captured headlines in Spain for several days.

Both prosecution and defense appealed the verdict, with the prosecution asking for a longer sentence, while the defense insisting that consent had been given despite a video showing the victim lying immobile and with her eyes closed during the attack.

The verdict and sentence were upheld on Wednesday by 3 votes to 2, with 2 judges asking for the original 9-year prison sentence for the 'La Manada' members to be increased to 14 years because intimidation was used during the attack.

The original sentence meted out in April provoked widespread indignation and protests involving tens of thousands of people in the majority of Spain's cities. Protestors demanded a change in the law regarding what constitutes rape in Spain.

Four members of La Manada were back in court in September in another case after being accused of sexually abusing a 21-year-old woman while she was asleep and filming the incident on a mobile phone.