Outrage as Manresa gang-rape trial convicts five men for lesser offence

Feminists groups call protests in over 40 Spanish cities

Protest against the Manresa gang-rape trial verdict (by Laura Busquets)
Protest against the Manresa gang-rape trial verdict (by Laura Busquets) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

November 4, 2019 02:59 PM

After Barcelona's high court sentenced five young men to prison for sexually abusing a 14-year old girl in Manresa in 2016, feminist organizations will hold protests in over 40 Spanish cities against a verdict that they see as too lenient. 

The five men were given jail sentences of between 10 and 12 years, but escaped a sentence of up to 25 years because the court dropped the initial charges of gang rape. A sixth man was acquitted, as was a seventh who masturbated while watching the assault. 

The protests will bear the slogan ''it is not abuse, it is rape''.

The girl's testimony, in which she claimed that she had been drugged beforehand and shown a pistol as a threat, was dismissed because she did not remember what had happened - she woke up the next day at her friend's house, who explained to her what had happened the night before.

Instead, it was ruled that the men had not employed ''any forms of violence or intimidation,'' since ''due to the inebriation of the victim she had lost total consciousness of what was happening and what she was doing.''

Repeat of 'wolf pack case' calls rape laws into question

The verdict echoes of the infamous 'wolf pack' (La Manada) case in Pamplona, in which a similar incident led to public outrage after the five men involved were convicted of sexual abuse. 

The Pamplona case led to the biggest feminist protests in Spain's history, and it was subsequently referred to the Supreme Court. The original verdict was changed to rape and the sentences raised from 9 to 15 years.

Since this case, the number of instances of reported rapes and gang rapes has increased.

Protests in Catalan towns and across Spain

The first will take place at 7pm in Madrid led by organization 'Plataforma 7N.' Later there will be protests in Barcelona and Girona, among other cities across Spain. 

The manifesto will urge for modification of the Penal Code so that intimidation or violence are not needed to qualify a crime as sexual assault. 

Prosecutor calls for rape conviction

Prosecutor Elena Contreras stresses that the case has six aspects that provided necessary grounds for condemning rape through ''environmental intimidation.'' Location (a small house less than 10 square meters), alcohol and marijuana consumed by the victim at the party, the age of the minor, the group action which led to the men taking it in turns to assault the minor, the use of a gun as a threat to keep other minors silent and the minor's complaints during the rape described by one of her friends.