BREAKING NEWS

Spanish protest demands change to sexual abuse law after men cleared of gang-raping 14-year-old girl

 Comments
A protest against a Spanish court which sentenced five of six men accused of gang-raping a 14-year-old girl to years in prison for sexual abusse, clearing them of rape.
A protest against a Spanish court which sentenced five of six men accused of gang-raping a 14-year-old girl to years in prison for sexual abusse, clearing them of rape. -
Copyright
REUTERS/Sergio Perez
Euronews logo
Text size Aa Aa

Feminist organisations protested across Spain on Monday to demand the penal code be changed after a court cleared five men of gang-raping a teenage girl because she was drunk and could not "agree to or oppose" intercourse.

Barcelona's High Court ruled last Thursday that the five men were instead guilty of the lesser charge of sexual abuse and sentenced them to 10 to 12 years in jail.

Under Spanish law, a rape only occurs when force or intimidation is exerted.

In this case, the ruling states that the 14-year-old victim's inebriated state meant she could neither "agree to (nor) oppose the sexual relations" and that excessive force had therefore not been applied.

A Change.org petition addressed to the Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court, and Senate demanding the penal code be changed so that rape is defined as "a sexual relationship without consent" has, in just three days, gathered more than 300,000 signatures.

The case is reminiscent of the Wolf Pack one for which five men were convicted last year for the sexual abuse of an 18-year-old woman at the San Fermin festival in Pamplona.

Judges ruled that because the victim — whom the five men had isolated in an alcove before removing her clothes, having unprotected sex with her and stealing her phone — had remained "passive or neutral" throughout, not enough violence had been applied to qualify for rape.

The public outcry led the Socialist government to launch a review of the penal code and in particular, laws relating to sexual abuse and assault — the latter of which is the Spanish equivalent of rape.

Euronews is no longer accessible on Internet Explorer. This browser is not updated by Microsoft and does not support the last technical evolutions. We encourage you to use another browser, such as Edge, Safari, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.