Protesters on Thursday took to the streets in Spain after a court ordered the release on bail of five men sentenced to nine years in prison for sexually abusing a young woman at Pamplona’s bull-running festival.
The men, who called themselves “the pack” in a WhatsApp messaging group, had been accused of raping a woman, then 18, at the entrance to an apartment building in Pamplona on July 7, 2016, at the start of the week-long San Fermin festival, which draws tens of thousands of visitors.
All five were convicted of sexual abuse in April, but were acquitted of the more serious crime of sexual assault, which includes rape, as the court did not consider that the victim had been subjected to intimidation or violence, sparking nationwide protests to demand that the law be changed.
They appealed their jail terms and a Pamplona court on Thursday ordered that the five men be released on bail of 6,000 euros (US$6,992) pending the outcome of an appeal, Spanish media reported.
The court was to publish its decision yesterday, a spokesman said without giving details.
Women’s rights groups immediately took to social media to call for protests on Thursday night with the slogan: “If the pack hits the streets, we will as well.”
About 1,000 people marched in Pamplona, some shouting “Enough macho violence,” and there where also rallies in neighboring Basque cities Bilbao, Vitoria and San Sebastian.
Hundreds also marched in Barcelona, some holding a banner that read: “In the face of patriarchal justice, feminist self-defense.”
“It is a shame, these scoundrel rapists get away so easily. It seems they want to release them so they are ready to start again on July 7, the day of San Fermin,” 66-year-old protester Carmen Roman said.
Another protest was scheduled to take place yesterday evening outside of the Spanish Ministry of Justice in Madrid, as well as in the southwestern city of Seville, the hometown of the five men, and other cities.
Prosecutors had asked for each of the men, who have been in custody since 2016, to be jailed for 22 years and 10 months.
One of the accused is a Guardia Civil police officer — currently suspended — and another was once in the army.
Several are “ultras” who support soccer team Sevilla.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies