'New wolf pack' gang in Spain held over sex attack

'New wolf pack' gang in Spain held over sex attack
Copyright REUTERS/Susana Vera
By Pascale Davies
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Four men and a boy have been detained by police over a sexual assault on a girl in Gran Canaria.


Four men and a boy have been detained by Spanish police over the alleged sexual assault on an underage girl on the island of Gran Canaria.

According to reports, the group had called themselves the 'new wolf pack' after a sexual assault in Pamplona that caused outrage in Spain.

Local media said the new assault happened in a tourist resort on the island last week. The girl was allegedly drugged and raped multiple times and the incident was filmed on a mobile phone.

The men are being held at a police station in the coastal town of Maspalomas. Spanish media said the group dubbed themselves as the "la nueva manada" (new wolf pack) while in detention.

The name directly links them to the actions of five men who sexually assaulted an 18-year old woman during the bull running festival in Pamplona in July 2016.

In that case, the men called themselves 'the wolf pack' in a Whatsapp group and had also filmed the assault on their mobile phones.

Last week, the assailants in the Pamplona case were released on bail, which prompted women's groups to hold further protests across the country.

Critics see fault in Spain's judicial system because the men were convicted of sexual assault, but cleared of the more serious charge of rape. Under criminal code, rape must involve violence or intimidation. The judges ruled that the victim was "passive" during the assault.

The government of Spain's new Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said it did not want to interfere in the judicial process of the Pamplona case, however, the equalities minister said the court's decision "aroused social alarm."

The identity of the victim, who was 18 years old when the assault took place, has been protected. On Wednesday she wrote an open letter to a Spanish TV show, calling on other victims to speak out.

The message from the young woman read: "Tell your story... Do it however you want, but tell your story. Do not remain quiet. Because if you do so, you are letting them win.”

She also thanked those that had taken to the streets in protest of the judicial ruling, adding: “No one should have to go through this. No one should have to regret having a drink or talking to people at a party. Or walking home alone, or wearing a short skirt. We all have to condemn the mentality that this society has, where this can happen to anyone."

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