Spain: Prosecutors to challenge divisive sexual abuse ruling

A top prosecutor in northern Spain says he will appeal five men’s conviction for sexual abuse because the attack they carried out during the Pamplona bull-running festival in 2016 should be considered a rape.

Jose Sanchez, the top prosecutor in the Navarra province, says the attackers —who took pride in their actions on a WhatsApp group named “La Manada” or “The (animal) Pack”— should be punished for “sexual assault (rape) and not only for sexual abuse.”

The Spanish criminal code says evidence of violence or intimidation must exist for the more severe offense to be proved.

Thursday’s verdict by two judges in Navarra and a third’s dissenting vote to acquit the attackers has led to widespread anger and social debate in Spain, with many calling for legal reform and criticism of what they perceive as machismo in the judiciary.